So another World Cup is over, England falling just short in the end, but doing their country proud with a semi-final appearance. For much of the tournament the mood was great in England, if not elsewhere in the UK! But how does sport boost the UK economy as a whole? It is not a case, as we will see, of simply selling more alcohol during matches. Sport reaches throughout every section of society at all times. Moolr had a look to see just how does sport boost the UK economy.
Sport England have conducted specific studies on the benefits of sport to the country. The value of sport to local government and communities extends beyond sport for sport’s sake. There is a large amount of evidence of sport’s role in delivering a wide variety of benefits. Benefits provided to communities and individuals, including economic growth.The benefits are not just financial however. Sport has a great ability to improve mind and body.
Sport can also help increase economic prosperity. It provides significant employment opportunities. It contributes towards raising aspirations and increasing skill levels. Sports help develop the knowledge, skills and productivity of people and communities. Sport helps to create strong and vibrant neighbourhoods where people want to live and businesses invest.
In 2010, sport and sport-related activity contributed £20.3 billion to the English economy. This amounted to 1.9% of the England total. The rest of the UK will show similar results. The contribution to employment is even greater. Sporting-related employment is calculated to support over 400,000 full-time equivalent jobs, 2.3% of all the jobs in England. The estimated economic value of sport-related volunteering is calculated at £2.7 billion annually. What’s more, the annual value of health benefits from people taking part in sport is estimated at £11.2 billion. Also, there is an additional benefit to us all from sport that cannot be calculated with numbers. Namely, that it has a positive effect on mental health for millions throughout the UK. These are just a few reasons when we consider the question of how does sport boost the UK economy? Elsewhere, since 2010 local authorities and businesses have come together to form local enterprise partnerships (LEPs). The LEPs play a central role in determining local economic priorities and undertaking activities to drive economic growth and the creation of local jobs.
When people think of the economic benefits of sport, thoughts often turn to specific events providing a boost. This is understandable. An event like a World Cup can have a massive boost on local businesses and larger companies too. The obvious benefit comes to public houses, supermarkets and the like. Many universities have been studying such effects for decades. For example, 2014’s British Open Golf Championships can make a big difference to the local economy. To the tune of £75m in the case of host region Liverpool and the Wirral.
What’s more, events like that also bring in tourists from elsewhere in the UK and from across the globe. A report in the Independent points to such benefits. In their article, Omari Williams, programme leader for sport management at the University of Derby points to figures from Visit Britain. The figures showed that that football tourists attending English league matches contributed £706 million to the economy in 2011, spending £785 per visitor compared to £583 for their non-sport counterparts. “Winter sports such as football and rugby are extremely attractive tools for tour operators to entice visitors to Britain during quieter periods,” he says.
Hosting a major sporting event can have long-lasting consequences, and provide a legacy for the region that can last for decades and beyond. Look at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002. The main stadium is now a world-class facility that houses Manchester City football club as tenants. The council make money annually as owners. Also, around the stadium are other world-class facilities that benefit the community and helped train many an Olympic medallist in 2012. However, the key is to have plans for such facilities, as many a World Cup or Olympics has seen facilities rot away as the crowds move away.