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A little bit goes a long way


Recently the Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Muhamad called on the corporate sector to increase sponsorship of sporting events in the country. The Malaysia Global Business Forum in its’ small way answered this call with a sponsorship of the 2020 International Touché Minime, a regional youth fencing tournament which saw over 220 athletes from 9 different countries competing in Kuala Lumpur.

Many might ask why a business forum is investing money into an international fencing event? Apart from the parallel between fencing and the business world, were the ability to make split second decisions, accuracy and dedication can be the difference between success and failure, sports sponsorship makes good business sense.  Not to mention the fact that sports is big business, globally Plunkett Research Group estimates the sports industry is worth some RM7.04 trillion (USD1.7 trillion)

Growing up in Australia where the sporting culture borders on the religious, I was fortunate enough to have parents with access to the world of corporate entertainment at sporting events. Now in Malaysia, it’s clear that as the country becomes more developed Malaysian businesses can benefit from a culture of corporate entertainment at sporting events.

True to this idea, involvement in this tournament paid dividends when one of our international business partners linked us to a parent of one of the young fencers who happened to be flying to Malaysia for the event.  Step one in a business based on good relations and trust, putting a face to a name.

The latest international figures for sponsorship tips the scales at just over RM248 billion (USD60.1 billion) but before getting too excited, a strategy for local business needs to be developed.  The question remains, how to make a little bit go a long way?  The answer lies with the pooling of resources and taking those first steps.

In the recent case, the Malaysian Fencing Federation (MFF) and the Federal Territory Amateur Fencing Association (FTAFA) got behind the organisers, Touché Fencing Club.  Sponsorship from the corporate sector plugged the gaps together with support from Tourism Malaysia and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

In a few weeks or months, the challenges to travel and organising sporting events due to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will have passed.  It will be time to put Visit Malaysia Year 2020 back into high gear. Sports associations together with the corporate sector have the opportunity to make a difference.

According to a report by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) global sports tourism is worth RM3.3 trillion (USD800 billion), constituting more than 10% of international travel and tourism receipts.  With Malaysia at the heart of the Asia Pacific region which also has the highest growth figures, clocking in at 8% pa there is an opportunity to spur revenue from tourism arrivals.

There is much to play for, the convergence of sports tourism, the further development of a corporate entertainment culture at sporting events and exposing local athletes to international competition can only have positive outcomes.  Especially for emerging sports, they can offer something all investors want, a ground floor business opportunity to grow market share.

Nordin Abdullah

Founding Chairman – Malaysia Global Business Forum

Commentary Featured in the following media :

New Straits Times – Ex-fencer happy with changes at Sports Ministry
Daily Express – New culture at sports Ministry is a welcome change
Expat Go – Forward with Fencing for an Olympic Future
Malay Mail – A little bit goes a long way
Sinar Harian – Atlet muda lawan pedang beradu tenaga di Bukit Kiara
RTM1 – Hasrat Adam dan Hydheer mahu beraksi di Olimpik
Tribun Pontianak – Atlet Kalbar Muhammad Iqbal Raih Medali Perunggu Kejuaraan Anggar di Malaysia
The Sun Daily – A little bit goes a long way
New Straits Times – Corporate donors can uplift Malaysian sports
The Star – Value of sports to the economy
Malaysia Global Business Forum – Touché Hosts First International Minime as part of Visit Malaysia Year 2020
News Hub Asia – Touché International Minime great success for Visit Malaysia Year 2020