For help with a story or to find an expert: 0114 225 2811
Media centre home > News> Sport and physical activity> The social value of sport

Issued:19/04/16

Participation in sport in England generates social value of over £44 billion according to research by Sheffield Hallam University.

The study, which is the first of its kind, looks at the Social Return on Investment (SROI) of sport and the impact it has on improving health and educational attainment, reducing crime and enhancing participants' life satisfaction.

Commissioned by the Higher Education Investment Fund and supported by Sport England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the team of researchers from Sheffield Hallam's Sports Industry Research Centre (SIRC) found that for every £1 spent on participating in sport in England, a benefit worth £1.91 is generated for society.

In 2013/14, £23.46 billion was spent on participating in sport by the public and private sectors, whilst the value of the social benefits created by this sports participation totalled £44.75billion.

More specifically, the social benefits of participation in sport include:

  • Reduced risk of dementia worth £2.1billion
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke worth £1.14billion
  • Lower risk of Type 2 diabetes worth £239million
  • Lower risk of breast cancer worth £132million
  • Reduced risk of colon cancer worth £48million
  • Reduction in crime worth £41million
  • Improved life satisfaction worth £30.4billion to society
  • Improved educational performance worth £5million
The Social Return on Investment in sport

Click to view the image

Dr Larissa Davies, reader in sports management at the University's Sports Industry Research Centre, said: "This study has shown that the 2013/14 social value of sport in England is positive.

"It is the first time the impact of sport has been evaluated using the Social Return on Investment method and it is a valuable way of showing just how effective sport is in our society." - Dr Larissa Davies

"At Sheffield Hallam, we are committed to increasing the level of physical activity on a national scale and by demonstrating just how beneficial sports participation can be we hope we are another step closer to achieving our goal."

To view the summary report click here

For press information: Sarah Duce in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 4025 or email pressoffice@shu.ac.uk