A plan to help Australia become a major player in the global sports technology market is currently underway in Geelong, where a sports technology precinct is set to be established and is expected to create up to 100 jobs in the city and about 1,500 across the country.
According to a report on The Age, Australia’s biggest sports organizations including the AFL and Tennis Australia have teamed up with leading researchers and business to create a world-class centre of excellence with the $6 million committed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for the sports precinct, to be given over four years.
Australian Sports Technology Ventures chairman James Demetriou says the precinct would be a “matching association” connecting both established and small sports technology manufacturers with national sports organizations like AFL and Tennis Australia, along with university researchers, to determine the needs of the market and eliminate the “guess work” in the process.
”In sports tech on a global basis we only have a few icons like 2XU, Catapult, Lorna Jane, DMC. We need more. We need 25 to 40 over the next four years,” said Mr. Demetriou, who began developing the project over a year ago.
Mr. Demetriou said the project would help industries in decline, citing Ford Australia as an example, where companies that formerly supplied components to Ford could be “retooled” to produce for the sports technology supply chain.
”We already have that design and manufacturing capacity,” he said. ”We are not trying to reinvent the wheel here.”
Should the project become successful it forecasted Australian sport technology exports to grow from $286 million, or 0.2 per cent of the global market, to $500 million a year, according to The Herald Sun.
Industry and Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr says the goal is to bring people together to create new markets, attract new investments that would utilize new technologies and consequently generate new jobs.
”There are a whole heap of firms that are already working in [the sports technology] area but I can think of Cougar as an example. It’s a company that currently operates out of Brisbane that makes new materials for sports uniforms, football jumpers for all the codes.”
The sports technology precinct is expected to begin operating in October and will have nodes in other key locations including Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Canberra.