Change your mindset if Trinidad and Tobago intends to be serious about tapping into the opportunities on offer in the US $600 billion global sports industry.

This was the prevailing message expressed by a number of the panellists who shared their views and experiences at the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee’s (TTOC) 5th Sport IndustryTT Conference, held last Thursday (March 5) at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad.

The event, attended by representatives of several National Sporting Organizations (NSO’s) and other stakeholders attracted a full audience – including industry professionals, sport administrators, students and athletes.

The theme of the Conference this year was “Sport is Big Business – Towards A Viable Commercial Model for Trinidad and Tobago Sport Industry”.

Among the panellists who shared their wealth of knowledge and expertise to the conference were Dr Clifford Thomas, Interventional Cardiologist; Agota Skrapics, Continental Development Manager at FITEQ; Patricia Wright-Alexis, Founder/ Head Coach – IN Sports Field Hockey Academy; Adrian Scoon, Managing Director – Harbour Tours Limited; Nneka Luke, General Manager – FilmTT; Sacha Thompson, Chief Operations Officer – WiPay; Roberto Garcia Riopedre, Managing Director – Bornan Sports Technology; Brevard Nelson, Director and CEO – Caribbean Ideas Limited; Grace Jackson, Head of Sports and Facilities – UWI; Sajjad Hamid, SME and Family Business Advisor; Simon Baptiste, CEO – Question Mark Entertainment; Kevin Valley, Managing Director – Become Investible and Dr Justin Koo, Lecturer in Law – UWI. 

Trinidad and Tobago’s very own Kibwe Trim, a former Professional Basketballer, avid businessman and philanthropist, delivered the keynote address to open the Sport IndustryTT Conference. Mr Trim took the opportunity to present the ISPS DreamChaser International Foundation Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award 2020 to a dynamic duo – brothers Israel and Zion Nicholas, for their exemplary dedication to their academic and athletic endeavours.

In his opening address to the event attendees, Brian Lewis, TTOC President stated that “the conference is timely given the technological developments impacting the global sport industry.”

In addition, he believes that “the sport industry cannot be divorced from culture, music, art, fashion and entertainment. There is a good argument for clustering the sport sector and sport industry in the Creative Sector. Digital technology is transforming sport, for example, with eSports. There’s a lot of innovation taking place in sport globally – artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR); there’s so much for us to discuss as we strive to have a Trinidad and Tobago Sport Industry that is innovative and entrepreneurial.”

Trinidad and Tobago will send a contingent to the 2020 Olympic Games hosted in the dynamic city of Tokyo, Japan in July of this year, where athletes will compete in various sporting disciplines. The twin-island Republic, which has produced such sporting legends as cricketer Brian Lara, footballer Dwight Yorke and track and field star Ato Boldon, has also been selected to host the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2021.