Josoor Institute Launches Research Division to lead on Proprietary Studies on MENA Sports and Events industries

03 April 2017

Josoor Institute has announced the launch of its research services, a new division that is leading the organisation’s research initiatives on the Middle East and North Africa’s (MENA) nascent sports and events industries. The two projects carried to date by Josoor Institute revealed proprietary knowledge and insights gathered for the first time about the region.

After successfully launching its educational offerings in 2013, Josoor Institute has kept in line with its mandate of bridging the knowledge gap in the MENA region by identifying the challenges and the opportunities that affect the growth of the industries. As a center of excellence inspired and developed by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), Josoor Institute serves as a catalyst for building the sports and events industries across the region. Working in collaboration with leading research analysts, Josoor Institute led the development of two pioneering researches titled “Research of Sports and Events industries” and “Middle East Football Fan Engagement”.

Speaking about Josoor Institute’s new service offering, Afraa Al Noami, Acting Executive Director of Josoor Institute, said: “Today marks a great milestone in our journey to develop and grow the sports and events industries across the MENA region. After setting up our educational offerings, Josoor Institute sought to expand its services to bridge the knowledge gap in the industry that stretches beyond human capital. When looking at the landscape of our industries, we realised that the biggest gap exists due to the lack of sports and events industries insights about the MENA region. The knowledge we’ve gathered to date has helped us better understand our industry and its potential, and we will continue to dig deeper to draw on the insights we need to move forward.”

The Josoor Institute research division is led by a team of experts who are passionate about bringing forward the opportunities of the industries and addressing the roadblocks that stand against allowing the region to reach its full potential. Josoor Institute has already developed two proprietary research projects and is currently working with organisations in Qatar and the region to address the knowledge gaps they are facing.

Josoor Institute’s first research project titled “Sports and Event Industries in MENA” was developed in collaboration with Repucom (now Nielsen Sports). The research was undertaken in 17 countries including Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE and Yemen. The research was able to draw the value of the MENA sports and events industries that stand at QAR 57.6 Billion (USD 15.8 billion) and QAR 29.5 Billion (USD 8.7 billion) respectively. The report uncovered some common rising trends among the 17 studied markets that showed the rapid growth of health and fitness cultures, breakthroughs in women’s sports, increased major event capabilities, a shift towards private ownership, rising demand for developed human capital and a media landscape increasingly shaped by digital and social media. Football was found to be the main sport in all 17 countries in the MENA region in terms of both following and participation. The research also showed that while both industries contribute to the region’s overall GDP and are major employers in the MENA region, the sports and events industries share the same top three development barriers that include lack of skilled human capital, lack of understanding of opportunities and lack of funding.

“This is the largest ever evaluation of the sports and events industries in the region,” said Jon Long, Managing Director of Nielsen Sports and Entertainment for the MENA region.

“For the first time we gathered together insights from industry experts across 17 MENA countries to build a picture of the present status of these industries, the prospects for growth and the barriers that need to be overcome to accelerate progress. The research uncovered inspiring success stories, under-exploited sources of value and examples of best practice from countries as diverse as Oman, Lebanon and Algeria that can be shared and implemented across the region,” Long explained further.

Josoor Institute’s second research project on “Middle East Football Fan Engagement” was conducted in collaboration with Deloitte. The study examines the motivations, behaviours and loyalties of football fans across Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and UAE. The study found that the love for football transcends national boundaries with 73% of participants stating that the sport is very important to them and 89% of respondents watch football whenever they can. The research also explored fans loyalty to local vs international clubs and found that in spite of a strong following of international clubs, fans across the Middle East are more likely to be lifelong fans of local teams than international teams. The study also showed that a significant proportion of Middle East fans are commercially passive, not spending on team related products including game tickets. There is evidence of considerable latent demand, with the opportunity for organisations to significantly grow the football consumer market by engaging fans. The research also found that while fans still engage most with their teams via television, apps and social media platforms are becoming increasingly important. When exploring fan loyalty, the study concluded that the main factors preventing fans from becoming season ticket holders are: fans preference to watch the game on television, lack of time to attend games and price of season tickets.

Julian Hawkins, CEO of Consulting for Deloitte Middle East commented – “We were delighted to collaborate with Josoor Institute on this ground-breaking research. We are particularly pleased that so many of the findings in the study can be directly taken up by football administrators across the region and used to guide new strategies and initiatives for building fan engagement.”

The sports and events industries in the MENA region will continue to develop, and the research led by Josoor Institute will follow that progress to track, monitor and analyse the growth of the industries.

For more information on Josoor Institute’s new service offering and its upcoming research studies, organisations are encourage to visit Josoor Institute’s website www.josoorinstitute.qa or contact info@josoorinstitute.qa to find out more.