Sport’s contribution to the English economy was today revealed to be £20.3 billion a year, with grassroots sport responsible for well over half of this total.
The study, which was commissioned by Sport England, shows that the growth in sport has outstripped the English economy as a whole – and the sector was resilient when the recession struck.
The research puts sport within the top 15 industry sectors in England, having a bigger impact on the economy than telecoms services, car sales and repairs, insurance and accounting.
£11.78 billion of sport’s contribution comes from people playing sport and related expenditure such as sports equipment and coaching, while £8.5 billion comes from people’s consumption of sport such as watching elite sport live or on TV, sports-related TV subscriptions and sports gambling.
More than 440,000 people have sport-related jobs, accounting for 2.3% of all employment.
Sport England’s Chair, Nick Bitel, said: “This report show that as well as improving the lives of millions of people grassroots sport is also having a huge impact on our economy. Put alongside the enormous value of the health benefits that sport delivers, it’s hard to overstate the sector’s contribution to our country.”
The report also examines the wider economic value of sport such as improving educational attainment and improving health. The annual value of health benefits generated by grassroots sport is put at £11.2 billion, with a £1.7 billion saving in healthcare costs. The economic value of sport-related volunteering is estimated to be £2.7 billion.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “Sport already makes a significant contribution to the economy but I want it to play an even bigger role in generating growth. The success of London 2012 transformed Britain’s standing in the world of sport and with a host of major events coming to the UK in the next few years we are in a great position to capitalise further.”