Economic and social value of sport and recreation

The Sport and Recreation Alliance is dedicated to highlighting the significant economic and social value of sport and recreation. To this end, we are advancing policy changes which maximise that contribution.

Economic Value of Sport

The value of sport and recreation to the UK economy is enormous.

The sport economy alone contributes over £6 billion to the Treasury every year.

This means for every £1 the government invests in sport it gets £5 back.

Major sporting events also produce a positive economic value to the UK. The 2015 Rugby World Cup generated £2.5 billion into the UK economy, while spending attributable to attending a live sporting event can bring in as much as £3 billion a year.

The outdoors also has economic value. In 2012/13 the 42.4 million adults who visited the natural environment spend £21 billion.

In 2014 we published Reconomics, a report that brings together all the existing information, research and evidence that demonstrates the economic impact of outdoor recreation.

For more evidence of the economic value of sport and recreation please visit our facts and figures page.

Social Value of Sport

Sport and recreation provides social value in its indirect benefits of boosting productivity, individual and community development as well as reducing the burden of ill health on society.

The 2015 Government Sports Strategy saw an increased focus on the wider social value of sport with the Government now committed to including the health, individual and community benefits of sport when measuring how successful sport is in the UK.

So now is the perfect time to explore in detail what the sport and recreation sector is doing in this area, to share best practice for others to replicate or build on and explore what more needs to be done.

Read our report Uncovering the Social Value of Sport to find out more.

There are already great examples of how our sector is running projects that fulfil these social needs. From the likes of School of Hard Knocks using rugby and Street Games through Doorstop Sport helping disadvantaged youngsters develop key skills, to Goalball helping visually impaired people increase their prospects for full-time education and employment.

The Alliance looked closely at the social value of sport when preparing the report and had shared the following:

  • A members briefing on youth justice, which contains a summary of the current policy debate in this area and features case studies from organisations who use sport and recreation to help disadvantaged people. This briefing can be downloaded by our members here.

Furthermore, in 2013 we published our Game of Life research which pulled together a wide range of evidence which exists to demonstrate the sport and recreation sector’s contribution, particularly around improving public health, reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and fostering social cohesion.