Sector updates

Economic Value of Sport in England (National)

What is it?

The Economic Value of Sport report published in July 2013 is based on research commissioned by Sport England and carried out by AMION Consulting.

This report forms part of Sport England’s ongoing commitment to building evidence for the value of sport, giving a national insight into the contribution sport makes to the economy and the relative economic importance of playing or watching sport.

In addition, it demonstrates the impact of sport:

  • Expenditure
  • Employment
  • Volunteering, health and wellbeing benefits

What will it tell me?

Sport’s contribution to the English economy reached £20.3 billion in 2010, 1.9% of the England total, and grassroots sport is responsible for over half of this value.

  • £11.78 billion of sport’s contribution comes from people playing sport and related expenditure such as sports equipment and coaching, while £8.5 billion comes from people’s consumption of sport such as watching elite sport live or on TV, sports-related TV subscriptions and sports gambling
  • This placed sport up in the top 15 industry sectors in England, above telecoms services, car sales and repairs, insurance and accounting
  • Sport employment remains a crucial component of the economy. The number of people with sport-related jobs in 2010 is estimated at over 400,000 – that’s 2.3% of all employment in England
  • Sport also generates wider benefits, both for individuals and society. The value of sport-related volunteering is £2.7 billion and the annual value of health benefits is estimated at £11.2 billion.

Sport England, how we play- Habits of community sport- 2013

There are many things which influence the sporting behaviours of people and participation. This piece of research suggests that participation is significantly affected by seasonal factors in two veins; the sport being seasonal and the time of year people want to play sport. This means that increasingly sports need to think about their offer both in and out of season and how they can maximise interest. For sports like swimming, there are strong increases in participation in summer months, reported to be a direct result of holiday participation. Clubs need to think differently about engagement and how they can best utilise cross sport working in quieter months as it is rare that sports fight over the same customer resulting in and either/or decision. If the sport has distinctive seasons like cricket, there could be some real opportunities for cross sport working without losing participation and changing people’s habits over a period of time.

The report also details how the need for flexibility within delivery and opportunities will increase the likelihood of regular participation in sport and physical activity. Creating more diverse, informal opportunities aside from the traditional competitive nature of the club environment. Another factor in the drop off in people’s participation is often due to life transitions and time away from activity. In order to increase the likelihood of return, participation opportunities need to be family friendly, flexible and variable to fit in with the changes in lifestyle and priorities.

Interestingly, the difficulty for clubs sits with the inability to convert participation into a regular habit for individuals. This is often in direct correlation to those individuals who participated regularly between the ages of 11-16 years whilst in education.

Sport and Recreation Alliance Sports Club Survey- 2013

Club income has reportedly shown an increase, meaning that less clubs are running at a deficit and therefore are more sustainable. This increase has been between 2010 and 2012 yet the surplus value still sits at 39% lower than it did in 2007. Club income has now risen for a 3rd successive year with those clubs running at a deficit has reduced form 28% to 24%. We need to continue to support clubs in generating additional funds and becoming more cost effective. Important changes in policy and government funding will be influential and may bring about significant changes for clubs in the future years resulting in a more proactive approach to changes. Clubs reported an increase in the membership fee for both adults and juniors to contribute to an increase in overall club income. The average club membership sits at £78 for adults and £48 for juniors.

52% of sports clubs are concerned about funding and how to generate and maintain current funding levels. Work is required to support clubs in the processes of obtaining and accessing new forms of funding and support. Other concerns within clubs relate to the recruitment of new members, need to improve or extend facilities or generating sufficient income.

Rate relief is important in creating savings for clubs who own or lease their facilities, for many without this support from the Local Authority they would struggle to pay the rates on the facility. Future spending within local government may impact heavily on this support and create difficulties for clubs.49% of clubs hire their facility from the Local Authority and say how important the maintenance element from the Local Authority is in supporting the activities.

32% of clubs would like training on how to provide for disabled people within their club. Interestingly, the ownership of facilities for clubs had a significant impact on whether clubs could offer provision in addition to main sessions. Generally, the clubs who provide inclusive sessions tend to not have any disabled members compared to those clubs who run specific sessions in parallel. Similarly, the links with schools are ever increasing in value as a form of recruitment of members. School club links are fundamental to clubs and generally clubs have more than one school link, increasing effectiveness.

DCMS- Creating a Sporting Habit for life- 2012

Creating stronger links between school and community clubs are increasingly important. The development of Sport England’s commitment to primary and secondary education developments, will bring about key investment for these much needed developments. There is a desire to raise the proportion of 14-25 year olds playing sport and establishing long standing links. Importantly, clubs have been identified as key partners within this network and the building of infrastructure in the local community with the aim of keeping people participating after the age of 25.

Whole Sport Plans now have a keen focus on Youth Provision and the ability to engage with individuals aged 14-25 years. This is a significant change in priority and NGBs will have at least 60% of the funding allocated within the Whole Sport Plans. This will increasingly be a payment on results and therefore NGBs need to significantly change their views and priorities.

With the significant increase in participation anticipated over the next few years there is a much needed investment programme which needs to run alongside this programme. Providing quality facilities for participation will increase the sustainability and desire to stay involved. There is to be significant investment into facilities by upgrading up to one thousand local sports clubs and facilities.

Sport England have also committed to supply funding for local community clubs to develop sporting opportunities in a multitude of forms to ensure variable access is achieved, at an appropriate level for the individual.

As previously stated, this is not an exhaustive list of research nor is this the only research which has been drawn on for the development of this plan. There is balance and challenge locally and nationally and as we move forward in creating potential solutions we need to recognise this. Interestingly, some of the research from local consultation supports the national perspective, however, some information identifies distinctive disparity and areas for potential investment locally.