Latin America: An Untouched Gem for Grassroots Sports Growth

Many of you know I like to explore niche segments within sports (particularly in high-growth markets).

Latin America is a fascinating case study

youth soccer player in argentina

Especially as they build upon sports and grassroots opportunities.

Let’s Dive In 👇

Thanks to Carlos Cuevas for completing the research and first outline of this briefing.

LatAm Sports Regime

It’s widely known that LatAm has historically been a powerful sports region.

Producing sports idols like:

  • Lionel Messi
  • Lorena Ochoa
  • Manu Ginobili
  • Pedro Martinez
  • Gabriela Sabatini

Unfortunately, the biggest stars leave the continent to build their stardom elsewhere (and many more promising talents get lost in the local sphere).

top latin american sports stars

The valuation of the native leagues, teams, and tournaments is far from being at the top.

For example, the English Premier League is worth over 10 times more than the Brazilian League.

The potential is tangible, and there’s plenty of room to increase the success rate of players, the attractiveness of competitions, and the economic value creation of the sports ecosystem.

LatAm Youth Sports Growth

Whoever finds a way to leverage Latin America’s unattended youth will have a diamond in the rough.

Here’s why:

  • 55% of its population is under 30 years old (350 million people)
  • LatAm has the highest rate of population following sports, where 90% of internet users follow at least 1 sport.
map of latin america

On top of its young and deeply into sports population…

Latin America has a growing middle class, which is projected to reach 335 million people by 2030.

What does this mean?

Households are getting access to more leisure activities, and families are spending more on their children’s sports and well-being.

What’s Key To This Opportunity

One of the problems is that…

Access to quality infrastructure and organized sports in Latin America is very low compared to other countries or regions.

In the US, over 50% of kids between 6-17 years old participated in a team or club (in Latin America we know it’s much lower, and why we couldn’t uncover data here).

kids player futbol in brazil

So where is the opportunity?

This situation, combined with the growing middle class and the passionate young generation is the perfect mix for investors to fill the gap by building facilities, academies, and training programs.

What’s Next

Sports investments have already been validated worldwide (particularly in Saudi Arabia of late) for their social and economic benefits.

An interesting example…

For every US$1 invested, the return to society is between US$3 and US$124.

drawing showcasing the value of investing in sports

Private Equity will be heading down to Latin America (just like what you see in North America and the Middle East).

When you start looking at the trends…

You see the massive need for an IMG Academy model in Latin America — and that’s just the start.

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