The benefits of sport

What are the benefits of sport to individuals, society and the economy?

Boosting participation in sport can generate a variety of socio-economic benefits. Sport can, and does, make a profound and positive impact on individuals, communities and wider society.

 

Sport England commissions its own research on this topic, while keeping a critical eye on the latest evidence from around the world. The aim is to provide the information needed to make the best strategic and investment decisions.

 

Economic impact

 

  • In 2010, sport and sport-related activity contributed £20.3 billion to the English economy – 1.9% of the England total.
  • The contribution to employment is even greater – sport and sport-related activity is estimated to support over 400,000 full-time equivalent jobs, 2.3% of all jobs in England.

 

Read more about the economic value of sport

 

Health impact

 

  • Physical activity, including sport, is linked to reduced risk of over 20 illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and some cancers
  • Taking part in regular sport can save between £1,750 and £6,900 in healthcare costs per person.

 

Read more about the health value of sport 

 

Social and cultural impact

 

  • Published studies show the positive effects of sport on education include improved attainment, lower absenteeism and drop-out, and increased progression to higher education. For instance, young people’s participation in sport improves their numeracy scores by 8 per cent on average above non-participants.
  • Other studies have found that sport programmes aimed at youths at risk of criminal behaviour can enhance self-esteem and reduce reoffending.

 

Read more about the social and cultural impact of sport

 

The Culture and Sport Evidence (CASE) Programme provides access to research on the benefits of sport, with over 12,000 international and UK studies across sport, arts, culture and heritage.

 

A summary of the programme is available to download below.