During the summer months of June, July and August, Europe goes sports mad. There are particularly rich pickings this year--the European football championships, test cricket, tennis at Wimbledon and of course the Olympics in Greece.
Money has been flowing like water. I write this in the midst of the frenzy aroused by the European football championship in Portugal. Practically every second house and car in England is proudly flying the Cross of St George flag. At a conservative estimate, some 18m flags have been sold. Then there are badges, kits, face-paint, caps, tee-shirts, magazines, programmes, posters. Six million extra footballs have been sold and the sale of football boots and kits has increased dramatically. Rivers of beer, wine and soft drinks have been flowing. This is just England. The same wild enthusiasm has gripped all the European countries.
Someone is making a killing. I gather that most of the items mentioned above are made in China, Taiwan, Singapore and India. Manufacturers and workers in those countries are sharing in this vast flow of money. Sport is good for business--in fact, some claim that sport is the biggest business around with fast turnovers and very rapid profits.
"The longer England stay in the competition, the longer retailers will benefit. It is not just food and drink and memorabilia--it is pretty much everything. Suddenly people have a positive attitude towardps everything, including spending their money," said Kate Ison of the British Retail Consortium.
According to a survey by monitoring organisation Footfall, the stock market rose by two percent with shares of breweries, sports clothing manufacturers and retailers shooting up five percent.
Internally, a sharp spike in productivity and innovation has been observed whenever a country has won. Families enjoy a sense of emotional intimacy, strangers are welcomed and treated well and the whole nation feels an almost euphoric sense of unity.
THE IMPACT OF VICTORY
Why does victory have such an impact on us? Dr Raj Persaud, a psychologist writing in the UK Independent says: "The professional sporting arena crystallises the many values as well as fantasies we have; when our team wins, we win and our identify is assured." We identify with the team and their trials and tribulations on the field of play become our trials and tribulations. So if our team overcomes the obstacles and wins, we feel a new confidence in ourselves that we too, in our individual lives, can...