Region Is Home To The Nation’s Top Eight Performing Sports Economies, Delivering An Additional £60m Boost
The strength of Yorkshire’s sports economy has been revealed in a new report which shows the region outperformed the rest of the UK despite the challenges created by Covid.
The joint ‘Competing for Growth’ report by law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) has been produced to highlight the vital role of the sports economy* in UK and how further growth can be unlocked.
York saw the fastest growth in sports GVA** between 2019 and 2020, expanding by a third (33.3%) year on year. According to the report York also topped the league table for employment growth adding over 500 jobs.
York’s success was complemented by the top eight sports economies of 2020 all being located in the Yorkshire region, worth a collective additional £60.1m to the UK’s sports economic output. All eight were the only cities in the report to see growth in their sports economies in 2020.
Yorkshire came top on all the report metrics, with Huddersfield boasting the largest sports economy (relative to its local economy as a whole) with sport 1.92% of the town’s GVA.
The picture for sports employment told a similar story, with the top nine cities reporting double digit employment growth all in Yorkshire, equalling some 5,825 jobs.
Although Leeds was just outside the top 10 for GVA growth, it recorded a 17.6% increase in employment.
In addition to Yorkshire’s success, the report also reveals the impact the pandemic had on many sporting economies. With fortunes, and sporting hotspots subject to change, the report makes three recommendations to government to further unlock the potential of the UK’s sports economy:
Women’s Sport - Unlock funding to support the further growth of women’s professional sport including Women’s Super League
Climate change - Provide funding and guidelines for green objectives for sports clubs
Financial sustainability – Legislate for a new independent regulator for English Football
Expert Opinion“Yorkshire’s table topping performance is a remarkable result and to return such figures, despite the impact of the pandemic in 2020, is no small achievement for the region.
“The top eight Yorkshire cities all have a success story to tell. Sheffield benefitted from its two football clubs; Sheffield United’s time in the Premiership and hosting the Women’s Euros. York has a new stadium, while Wakefield AFC was founded in 2019 and renovation commenced on the Belle View Stadium, home of Wakefield Trinity rugby league club. Huddersfield saw its own sports economy grow by 15.3%, itself the fifth fastest growth rate.
“The challenge for the Yorkshire region will be to ensure this development continues and investment in green initiatives and unlocking the power in women’s sports could prove a cost effective way for the region to continue to make strides during a period of economic uncertainty.”
Thomas Barnard, partner and National Head of Irwin Mitchell’s Sports sector team,
Irwin Mitchell’s sport sector team advises individual athletes; sports clubs; leisure groups; national and international governing bodies and sports agencies. Its team of experts advise on a diverse range of issues including tax and image rights structures; dispute resolution and disciplinary action; commercial transactions; property; IP and employment law. Irwin Mitchell is the official legal partner of England Rugby; UK Athletics; and British Rowing.