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The Possibilities for Economic Benefits in Africa from the Fusion of Sports and Music

Few things in this world have the same significance in the hearts of as many people, the same ability to enthrall, inspire, and unite people in celebration as do sports and music.

Sports and Music
Sports and Music, (PHOTO; Spotify NewsRoom)

More than just a sound, music tells our stories and ties us to one another, our culture, and our heritage. It gives us a way to express ourselves, allows us to share how we’re feeling, and enriches the quality of our lives. In addition to being a game, sports can bring together individuals from various racial, cultural, and religious backgrounds in support of their preferred club or team. That is why sports and music exists for us to bond.

Sport allows us to connect with one another as we witness how our team defies all odds, accomplishes a first, snatches victory from the jaws of defeat, or falls short of the victory. We benefit from the sense of belonging that it gives us. Sport and music are, above all, just enjoyable.

Sports and music have a long-standing connection. From the 1992 Summer Olympics, where the song Barcelona by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé served as the theme song, to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where the theme song was The Time of Our Lives by Il Divo and Toni Braxton, music has always served as a catalyst to help sports take off.

Soccer has also been referenced in songs by Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode, Wavin’ Flag by K’NAAN, Shakira’s Waka Waka, and Naira Marley, Lil Kesh, and Olamide’s Issa Goal.

Songs have also been known to quote African soccer greats like Drogba, Eto’o, and Okocha. The recent appearance by Burna Boy at this year’s Champions League final only serves to emphasize the clear connection between music and sports.

Sports and music are essentially two sides of the same coin, so it should come as no surprise that they can have a significant influence when combined. Together, they can support political processes, strengthen communities, and promote sociocultural and economic change.

With more than 400 million people in Africa between the ages of 15 and 35, the continent has the youngest population in the world. Spotify data reveals that listeners between the ages of 18 and 24 made the most playlists with the word “sport” in them, followed by listeners between the ages of 25 and 29. This is a definite sign that Africa’s youth are on the pulse of the synergy between music and sports.

African talent is flourishing in both the sports and music industries, and this young population is still expanding quickly. African music genres like Amapiano and Afrobeats are becoming more and more popular around the world, which serves as evidence of this. According to Spotify data, the growth of African music in international markets year over year is comparable to that of KPOP. Several of its top performers, including Burna Boy, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Rema, DJ Maphorisa, Uncle Waffles, and Black Coffee, are dominating international stages. In the meantime, numerous African athletes are important contributors for international teams in sports like basketball, football, and rugby.

It is obvious that the combination of sport and music offers significant potential to contribute to economic growth and development given that the total revenue in the African sports market is expected to increase at an annual rate of 9.02% between now and 2027, translating to a projected market volume of $8 million by 2027 and the continent’s music market is expected to show an annual growth rate of 11.32% between now and 2027.

Partnerships like the one Spotify has with the European football team FC Barcelona allow us to already see this impact of sports and music in action. By giving players and artists a platform on a global scale and creating new opportunities for connecting with fans at Spotify Camp Nou, the stadium where Barcelona’s supporters congregate, the two collaborated to create the first-of-its-kind partnership that brought the worlds of music and football together. Firebody DML, CKay, Omah Lay, and DJ Spinall are a few of the African musicians who have had advertisements in the 99,000-seat stadium. This is consistent with Spotify’s mission to use F.C. Barcelona’s international fan base to promote artist discovery and engagement, which will increase the opportunities for those artists to make a living through their art.

During its All-Star Weekend this year, the US National Basketball Association (NBA) also tapped into the synergistic potential of music and sport by assembling performers for its halftime show from the likes of Burna Boy, Tems, and Rema.

For the inaugural Giants of Africa Festival, which will take place from August 12–19 in Kigali, Rwanda, Spotify has also partnered with the youth basketball non-profit Giants of Africa. Over 40,000 African youth in 17 countries have benefited from Giants of Africa’s access to more than 110 basketball courts, camps, and clinics since the organization’s founding in 2003.

Together, the two will showcase a common vision for Africa’s future by bringing the best of African youth, basketball, music, culture, and entertainment from the continent and beyond. This collaboration is timely because the number of Spotify playlists containing the word “basketball” has increased by more than 1,300% since 2020.

The Giants of Africa festival will conclude with a closing ceremony, sponsored by Spotify, featuring some of the biggest African performers, including Davido, Tiwa Savage, Tyla, and Bruce Melodie.

The fact that the majority of these artists’ Spotify listeners are in the 18-to-29 age range further demonstrates Giants of Africa and Spotify’s shared dedication to supporting African youth and also the sports and music industry.

Given the abundance of particularly young athletes and musicians on the African continent, it is obvious that supporting their growth to compete internationally will have a positive socioeconomic and cultural impact on communities throughout the continent.

We can give this young talent a platform by combining the connective powers of sport and music, and we can also attract much-needed investment to our local sports and music industries, which will enable us to find, cultivate, and develop the artists and athletes of the future.

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Written by Grace Ene

Author for Techrectory.

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