The sporting sector's an important one to us at Irwin Mitchell, but it’s also crucial for the UK economy. Sport helps to create jobs, attract tourists, and boost employee wellbeing and productivity.
Our report on the UK's £10 billion sports economy looks at sport-related economic data for 50 towns and cities. It provides recommendations on how the sector can grow and drills down on the importance of financial and environmental sustainability for clubs.
Our Key Findings On The Importance Of Sport
Our findings revealed the true extent of how much sport benefits local economies in the UK.
Research shows locations with prominent sports teams and clubs enjoy boosts in both local economy and employment.
We compared the estimated size of city sports economies to the total city GVA. This indicates how important sport is in local communities.
- Among the top five cities on this measure in 2020, four were home to clubs competing in either the 2019/20 or 2020/21 Premier League seasons
- A recent report estimated that the Premier League supported a total of £7.6bn in UK GVA, £3.6bn in tax contributions, and 94,000 jobs in 2019/20
- Huddersfield enjoyed the largest relative sports economy in 2020, accounting for 1.92% of the town’s GVA. Following Huddersfield Town AFC’s promotion to the Premier League, it was estimated that the broader economy was increased by £5m
- Sheffield came second to Huddersfield, with 1.30% of the city’s economy coming from sport. This is twice the average of 0.65% across all cities studied
- Cities with more football or rugby teams in either of the top two domestic leagues had a larger sports economy and higher sports employment.
The Economic Benefits And Potential Of Sports
Our report also found spectator sport creates extra channels that benefit local economies.
- Sporting events support local economies beyond the day they take place. Ticket sales, match day visitors, and longer-term investments all help to boost local economies
- Sport events encourage more people to take part in sports. This boosts health and wellbeing benefits that support economic development
- The 2020/21 Active Lives Survey showed that higher activity levels are associated with greater mental health and positive views on community development
- Research from Coulson found employees who exercised on set days reported improved mental health and performance at work. This shows that exercise improves employee wellbeing and business productivity
- Birmingham hosted the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The games sold 1.5m tickets and brought over 5m people into the city centre over a two-week period. This was a 200% increase in the same period in 2021
- The Commonwealth Games sparked extra public interest, which included £35m from Sports England. This money enabled the equipment used in the games to be donated to local sports groups. Hopefully, this will create greater opportunities for the local community.
This is only a fraction of the data we’ve been able to collect on the positive impacts of sport. Read a summary of the report or click the link below to read the in-depth version that goes into greater detail about the importance of the sporting sector to local economies.
Read the full report