Knowledge & Insight

The commercial value of sport in the UK

Wed 30 April 2014

The growth in UK sport is not only beneficial to our health and wellbeing. It’s good for the economy too. That’s the clear message delivered by a study commissioned by Sport England – the Government-funded body responsible for promoting individual participation in sports.

Sport - a multi-billion pound business

The research, which was undertaken by AMION Consulting, revealed that in 2010, sports-related activity generated a Gross Value Added of more than £20 billion, placing sport firmly in the top 15 UK commercial sectors. Supporting more than 400,000 full-time equivalent workers, sport is now a major employer, and unlike many sectors of the UK economy, these jobs are well distributed across the country.

Regional success stories

There are, however, a number of regional hotspots, and events like the Manchester Commonwealth Games and the London Olympics serve to highlight the enormous impact that sporting events can have on regional development. The same applies to specific high-profile venues, such as the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and Wembley Stadium, which have both generated significant local economic impact.

A national phenomenon

It’s estimated that over one third of all UK adults play sport at least once a week, yet watching sport is just as popular as participating, and there are tens of millions of paid-for attendances at sporting venues each year around the country. In addition to the obvious economic benefits, sport has a wide-ranging impact on UK society. There is strong evidence to suggest that participation in sport reduces youth crime and diminishes anti-social behaviour. Sport can also help to bring together local communities, both through team support and community events. It can also mobilise support for specific causes and charities.

The role of individual sports

It’s clear that specific sports have key roles to play in helping to support the UK economy. The global popularity of the Premier League provides a stand-out example of how the UK leads the way in the promotion and commercialisation of elite sport. Not only does the Premier League attract huge audiences across the world, it also attracts major inward investment and helps to build the “UK plc” brand around the globe. Cycling is another major success story, with the growth in UK cycling helping to bring the opening stages of the 2014 Tour de France to Yorkshire and the South East, an event that will generate countless millions in tourism revenue and help further boost the strong growth in cycling design, manufacturing and retail.

Sport executive search

The recent growth in the economic value of UK sport is due in no small way to the efforts of the people involved at a senior level, and the UK leads the way in virtually every niche of sports management. In an increasingly sophisticated marketplace, any firm involved in the sports arena requires talented professionals on board, so whether a true sporting club, or a business involved in sports marketing and advertising, merchandising, sponsorship, manufacture or retail of sports equipment, if firms are to succeed, they must recruit the best people in the business. And today, that requires the services of an experienced sports executive recruitment firm.

Stone Executive is an experienced sports executive search firm with a strong track-record in sports executive recruitment. Our sports headhunters boast a professional network that spans the UK, Europe and beyond, so we are ideally placed to identify and attract high calibre executives with the expertise and experience to deliver real bottom-line impact.

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