Olympic sport offers huge boost to UK economy

Olympic sport offers huge boost to UK economy

09 November 2017 / 13:32

Sir Andy Murray, Jason and Laura Kenny, Sir Mo Farah, Sir Ben Ainslie, the list of inspiring Team GB Olympic champions goes on and on.

Watching these international sporting greats shine on the world stage has not only increased participation in Olympic sport, improving the mental and physical health of the nation, but has contributed around £30 billion to the UK economy.

A Sheffield Hallam University study for UK Sport calculated the value of Olympic and Paralympic sport as around £19 billion, more than the entire agriculture, forestry and fishing sector, a figure which rises to around £30 billion if the wider supply chain is included.

For many, Olympic sports are a pastime but the increased popularity of these events has boosted employment too, with 620,000 people in jobs created by the industry.


With rowing medals from five Olympic Games, UK Sport chair Dame Katherine Grainger is well-acquainted with the positive impact such major events can have and is glad the National Lottery-funded investment in Olympic athletes is paying off for the whole country.

“This report for the first time shows the huge value of Olympic and Paralympic sport to the wider economy in terms of jobs and consumer spending,” said the six-time world champion.

“We know that our Great British medals in recent and future years can help to inspire the nation to get active and take up sports and exercise, whether in a local parkrun or aiming for an Olympic podium.

“That’s why investing in our medal success through the National Lottery is also investing in the health and wealth of the country as a whole.”


Breaking the contribution down by sport, road cycling is one of the top performers, worth £2.3 billion and 75,000 jobs and, with the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games approaching, ice skating is becoming increasingly popular – worth £400 million.

The direct influence of recent Olympic Games is evident as there is now more employment provided by Olympic sport than there was by the entire sport sector in 2004, before the Beijing, London and Rio Games.

And Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch also highlighted the many benefits Olympic success can bring the nation.

"Sport is hugely important to British life,” she explained. “It strengthens communities, increases physical and mental health and, as this report clearly shows, makes an enormous contribution to our economy.

“The incredible performance of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes not only inspires millions of people in the UK to get active, but helps boost the sports economy, providing jobs and driving growth across the country."

Sportsbeat 2017

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