That same month we learned about the agreement signed between the Generalitat and Barcelona Sportstech HUB23 with the aim of jointly promoting a ‘hub’ of sports technologies. Catalonia already has today one of the largest concentrations of companies linked to the sports industry in Europe. In addition, Barcelona is the third city on the continent in number of start-ups and companies that work in the field of sportstech, which are all those technologies that develop tools related to sports or e-sports, such as virtual reality, augmented reality, big data, artificial intelligence, etc.
Badalona meets the conditions to get on this train, since it is a city that has an ideal environment for the development of a solid project around the sports industries. There are three significant vectors that should be the engine of this project. First of all, Badalona is basketball and, currently, Barcelona is the headquarters of the offices of the two main competitions in this discipline, outside the NBA: the Euroleague and the ACB. Secondly, Badalona can reinforce the commitment to women’s sports, in which different sectors have been working actively for some time and is, without a doubt, the pending revolution in professional sports. And, last but not least, Badalona has the ideal setting to link sport and health. The city is home to the main health park in the country and all the Can Ruti services are an advantage of reinforcing the link between sport and health. In a broad sense, sport is a generator of opportunities in the field of research, medicine and health technologies.
Through these three levers -basketball, health and women’s sports-, Badalona has the potential to generate an attractive ecosystem for technology companies, sports clubs, entrepreneurs, universities, sports federations, competitions, private health centers, research centers, etc.
Realistic goals to reach the end goal
If we set our goal for Badalona to be a city closely linked to the sports industries, it is important to walk the road setting realistic goals as any athlete who has his sights set on a major competition would do. Right now we cannot expect that next year the new Euroleague and ACB venues will be built in the magnificent setting of the Three Chimneys, but perhaps we can organize a final of a major sporting competition (Euroleague, Men’s or Women’s King’s Cup, Finals world e-sports, etc.) to promote a debate that enriches current connections, demonstrates the strength of the city and serves as a tool to generate new opportunities. This organization of a great competition should go much further and could be the perfect excuse to organize a Summit on Economy and Sport on the same days or week, in different settings of the city. Badalona has spaces and organizational capacity to do it.
The desire to create new companies or attract talent to the city cannot be confused with flying pigeons. We wouldn’t be doing the city any favors. The transformation must be promoted from a realistic purpose, but not for this unambitious. All the big clubs in Europe of different disciplines have seen in the sports industries an opportunity to increase their income and optimize the resources available to them. And from that, your community benefits. Badalona and its surroundings have the necessary potential to make this commitment, which can be combined with the one already underway in Barcelona to seek synergies and generate complementary solutions. It is worth considering this path for a sector that represents 2.5% of GDP and that concentrates all the necessary ingredients to increase its weight in the coming decades.
Xavier Barrachina, member of associació Restarting Badalona