Sport England launches new model to show the economic value of sport to local communities

01 August 2014

All local authorities in England can now show how sport benefits their economy thanks to a new modelling tool launched by Sport England.

The ‘Economic value of sport – local model’ provides each local authority, county sport partnership (CSP) and local enterprise partnership area with estimates on sports’ contribution to the local economy in the form of business output and jobs as well as wider benefits like health. It also includes guidance on how to best use this evidence.

Mike Diaper, Sport England’s Director of Community Sport, said: “We are delighted to be helping local authorities, county sports partnerships and local enterprise partnership areas understand the value that sport brings to their area. The model has been designed to be easy to use by local partners who need to be able to access key information quickly. It will help protect existing investment and make the case for new investment in sport.”

The newly-created model gives a “snapshot” of the overall value of sport in the local area, indicating the contribution made by businesses and services supporting people playing sport plus the wider interests in sport (e.g. sports broadcasting or spectating at sporting events).

The model measures ‘value’ as Gross Value Added (wages and operating profits of businesses) and employment (jobs) associated with the production of sports goods and services. In addition it sets out the economic value of the health benefits of being regularly active, volunteering in sport and the wider spending of spectators and participants.

Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, said: “We know physical inactivity is one of the major causes of ill-health which is entirely preventable. This easy to use model will support local areas to understand the positive impact of sport as part of economic regeneration as well as the positive impact on health. This reminds us that the true value of sport isn’t just to get people active: it has the potential to save lives.”

The model will also help local partners  assess the “impact” of change, showing the effect of increasing or reducing the number of people playing sport, for example if new facilities are built, facilities are closed or more marketing is done to attract those not playing sport regularly.

Peter Box, Chairman of the Local Government Association Economy and Transport Board, commented: “As well as obvious health and leisure benefits, sport is a multi-billion industry. This tool, developed by experts in the sector, will help unlock the local economic value of sports, ensuring continuing investment and jobs in this growth industry.”

Chairman of the Chief Economic Development Officers Society, David Walsh, said: “The new tool developed by Sport England promises to be a real asset for local authorities in demonstrating the economic value of sport, both in terms of impact and participation. It will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of investment in sporting infrastructure, and the associated benefits for health and welfare."

As part of the development of the model, Sheffield City Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Walsall Council helped shape the model and test it to ensure it had the greatest impact for local partners to make the case for sport.

Paul Billington, Director of Culture and Environment, Sheffield City Council, said: “We applaud Sport England’s initiative to create a tool that brings to life (and numbers) the real economic impact of sport. For many of us who've been involved in sport for many years, we've known that sport makes economic sense. Now we can prove it!”

While this is the first time each authority in England can easily access the value of sport locally, Sport England last year commissioned a national study, using research undertaken in 2010, to produce a national estimate of the value of sport. The study showed that sport and sport-related activity contributed £20.3 billion a year to the English economy, supported over 400,000 full-time jobs and contributed to better health and stronger communities. 

Cllr Flick Rea of the Local Government Association, said: “Sport plays a huge role in communities and anything which helps local areas derive all the benefits sport can bring is positive.”

To sign up and access the ‘Economic value of sport - local model’, click here.