Culture and Sport Evidence Programme

The Culture and Sport Evidence (CASE) programme is a joint strategic research initiative led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and its sector-leading arms-length bodies: Arts Council England, English Heritage and Sport England

By working jointly on more challenging and shared research agendas CASE can deliver better value for sport, arts, libraries, museums and heritage than working separately and in isolation.

The aim of CASE is to use interdisciplinary research methods and analysis to inform the development of policy in culture and sport. The programme was set up in 2008 and the Drivers, Impact and Value of Engagement project was commissioned in December of that year. A year and half later, and the largest single piece of policy research in culture and sport was published.

The published research provides ground-breaking evidence on:

  • The impact of background factors (such as age, income and gender) and policy interventions (such as advertising or cost reduction) on the likelihood of people engaging
  • What interventions are effective in delivering positive learning outcomes for young people
  • The short-term individual value (specifically improved wellbeing), and the long-term health benefits (such as healthcare cost savings and improved health-related quality of life) of engaging
  • A world-leading bibliographic database on sport and culture.

What can it be used for?

County sports partnerships (CSPs) can use the intelligence available to help local decision-makers advocate the value of sport. These findings help to strengthen the case for continued investment in sport, and support policy-makers and practitioners in making better informed decisions. In particular they provide:

  • Evidence to make the case for investing in sport based on the broader wellbeing, health and educational outcomes
  • Increased insight into the patterns of participation in sport, the key socio-demographic drivers and relationships with the arts, libraries, museums and heritage
  • A bibliographic resource to assist with wider reviews of the evidence on social, economic and health outcomes from sport and on what works to increase participation.

A further CASE report reviewing the amount and quality of evidence for the social benefits of sports is currently being produced and will be published in 2014. This report will provide a further tool to advocate sport and support the development of policy.

What will it tell me?

The key findings for sport show that:

  • Young people’s participation in organised sport improves their numeracy scores, on average, by 8% above that of non-participants
  • The participation of underachieving young people in extra-curricular learning activities linked to sport increases their numeracy skills, on average, by 29% above that of non-participants, and their transferable skills by 12-16%
  • Sport generates substantial long-term economic value in terms of avoided health costs and improved health-related quality of life, for example, the health gains associated with a 30-49-year-old who plays football are valued at £27,600 (over the lifetime of the individual)
  • Engagement in sport has a positive and quantifiable effect on a person’s perceived wellbeing
  • A range of factors, including age, gender, alcohol consumption, childhood experience of sport, socio-economic variables, a limiting illness or disability, educational attainment, unemployment, TV and internet use, and the proximity of local sports facilities, are directly associated with people’s participation in sport
  • Of the various cultural sectors, only participation in sport shows a decrease with age, and lower levels of engagement amongst women.

Where can I find out more?

Download our summary:

For the full reports, including an overarching summary and more detailed technical reports, visit the CASE website:

May 2014