Important distinctions between Sport for Development, Sport Development and Sport Entertainment

Sport for Development vs Sport Development vs Sport Entertainment

The growing popularity of sports has attracted different people to the practice for different reasons. Historically, sports were originally created for pure joy and/or competition, not to make money. Today sport has become a lucrative business, an effective tool to promote community development and, something in between the two.

Sport for Development, Sport Development and Sports Entertainment are among the three popular uses of sports currently. These three are similar in many ways but they also share very important distinctions from each other. We did our research extensively, but if we missed something please inform us using the comment section at the end of this article.

These distinctions are important since they inform stakeholders, participants and community members about what each “use of sport” seeks to achieve and what the long term outcomes for that use of sport is. Keep as I explore the similarities, differences and benefits of each sector of sport as by comparing and contrasting them to highlight how they relate to one another.

Definitions

Sport for Development is defined as “the intentional use of sport and physical activity as a tool to bring about positive change in the lives of people and communities” [1]. Sport Development on the other hand is the promotion of sports activities (or specific sports activities) for communities and Sport Entertainment is the intentional use of sport to entertain and generate profit for the athletes, their brands and/or teams.

All 3 sectors rely on the use of sports to meet their objectives. Likewise, they all require, although not equally, coaches, players and facilities. Sport for Development is more flexible than Sport Development and Sport Entertainment when it comes to facilities. Sports Entertainment is the least flexible in this regard. Sports entertainment is the most popular in today’s culture than the other two. It has a wider reach and generally, when people talk about sports, they are referring to Sports as entertainment.

To give you a general idea that disguises these 3 sectors from each other, look at them this way. Sports entertainment is the sports you watch on TV or play professionally and are rewarded with a salary. Sport Development is the sport you play at school in which the emphasis is on gaining life skills and teaching you fundamental human movements of the body. Sport for Development is the Sports you play at community events were you are taught sports itself and other aspects that extend beyond it, such as how to communicate effectively, how to treat and accept other and where to go if you need social services in your community. You can read about how Sport can Develop Communities here. The differences are explained in details below.     

In most cases sports programs are neither exclusively Sport for Development, Sport Development or Sport Entertainment but a combination of all three. This is especially true with respect to Sport for development programs and not often the case with Sports Entertainment.

Objectives and Outcomes

In Sports Development the main objectives for programs are increased participation in sports [2], while Sport for development is about generating social development through the use of sport [3]. This means that in Sport for Development sport is used as a tool for development (of communities and participants) [3]. Whereas in Sport development sport is used as a tool to develop (community members and coaches). For these reasons Sport for Development and Sport Development share various common qualities.

Both ‘sport development’ and ‘sport for development’ focus on delivering quality interventions and active, planned participation on the ground [3]. Projects carried out in the sport for development field must, therefore, be based on a firm understanding and knowledge of the sport itself as in Sports Development and Sports Entertainment. And just as in ‘sport development’, ‘sport for development’ interventions have to deliver solid sports curricula, and build skills of participants, teaching them the rules, technical tricks and ways of the game [3].

Furthermore, Sport Development organizations aim is to introduce more people to a sport (or Sports), involving them as players, fans, sponsors or advocates [3]. Sports Development is associated with secondary benefits like general fitness and health, development of life skills, education, etc [2]. On the other hand Sport for Development organizations are more focused on the non-sporting outcomes that result from the programs such as increasing positive education outcomes, providing mentorship and guidance or reducing gang violence [2].

In Sports entertainment, the primary purpose is to generate profit, either for the participants themselves, the teams they play for or even a brand they represent and often, it is all the above. This does not suggest that sports entertainment is incapable of delivering programs that incorporate Sports development or Sport for Development outcomes but, In this regard, Sports entertainment possess a quality that is not of priority to Sports Development and Sport for Development, which is making profit. This gives Sports entertainment a financial advantage over Sports Development and Sport for Development.

Funding and Profit

Because Sport entertainment prioritizes profit. It is able to sustain itself through the profits generated. Sport Development is mostly dependent governmental organisations and corporations with special interest in specific sports while Sport for development is almost entirely depends on donor funding and grants. 

Sport for development and Sport development organizations can too, generate profit without compromising on the quality of their programs. Of all the three sectors, Sport for development is the most capable to achieve what the three sectors seek to achieve by itself. An important point to make here is that nothing, by law or practice, averts neither of the 3 mentioned sectors from making a profit.

It is, however, as Edwin Moses pointed out in his article “Plus Sport vs. Sports Plus: Understanding the Difference” much easier to show specific results for a Sports Plus (Sports Development) program than it is Plus Sport (Sport for development) program. For this reason, the Sport for Development sector does not enjoy the investor confidence that Sports Entertainment and sometimes Sports Development does.

Coach training

All coaches in the Sport for Development, Sports Development, and Sport Entertainment sectors need to be trained to deliver effective programs. Coaches in the Sport for Development sector do not usually need extensive training as their programs usually emphasize on sport being used as a tool that is able to help forge social change. This is in contrast to coaches in the entertainment sport sector, as they are highly skilled and mostly specialize.

All sectors provide great services and opportunities for children [2]. However, because coaches in the Sport entertainment sector specialize, their fees are relatively high if someone wants to take part. The same could be said for coaches in the Sport Development sector but the is an important distinction to make here. Coaches in the Sport entertainment sector train kids to specialize in a specific sport that is of their liking or, in most cases, the liking of their parents. Coaches in the Sport Development sector teach kids specific sports skills that may be transferable to other sports or other aspects of life.

This is illustrated below

Sport for Development Sport Development Sport Entertainment
Definition: the intentional use of sport and physical activity as a tool to bring about positive change in the lives of people and communities’ [1].Definition: The promotion of sports activities (or specific sports activities) for communities.Definition: The intentional use of sport to entertain and generate profit for the athletes, their brands and/or teams.
Sport is used as a tool for development (of communities and participants)Sport is used as a tool to develop (community members and coaches).Sport is a form of employment.
The focus is on generating social development through the use of sport.Main objectives for programs is increased participation in sports.
Sport Development organisations aim is to introduce more people to a sport (or Sports).
Sport for Development organizations are more focused on the non-sporting outcomes that result from the programs such as increasing positive education outcomes, providing mentorship and guidance or reducing gang violence [2].associated with secondary benefits like general fitness and health, development of life skills, education, etc.
The only one among the three intentionally seeking to make profit.
Sport for development almost entirely depends on donor funding and grants.Sport Development is mostly dependent governmental organisations and corporations with special interest in specific sportsAble to sustain itself through the profits generated
Coaches in the Sport for Development sector do not usually need extensive training.
Highly skilled coaches.

It is in the interest of all those involved to familiarize themselves with the different sectors of sports because, as this article has demonstrated. Not all sports are created equal. Before you encourage someone to join a specific sports club take time to research what that sports club seeks to achieve and make sure those are aligned with your needs or objectives.

Remember any form of participation is better than none. If you enjoyed reading this, you might also enjoy Historical Social change Motivated by Sports inspired by similar topics. Subscribe below for more articles about Sports (for) development (and peace), athletic development, exercise science, and Human movement studies. As always, until next time. Keep moving.

References

[1] SPORTED, “WHAT IS SPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT?,” 09 November 2018. [Online]. Available: https://sported.org.uk/about-us/what-is-sport-for-development/.

[2] E. Moses, “Plus Sport vs. Sport Plus: Understanding the Difference,” 09 November 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/edwin-moses/plus-sport-vs-sport-plus-_b_6463108.html.

[3] SAD Public, “Sport development, sport for development, or both?,” 09 November 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.sportanddev.org/en/article/news/sport-development-sport-development-or-both.

Thando W. Dlamini

Sport Development and Exercise Science Practitioner

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