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Social Return on Investment in Sport

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In 2018, we commissioned research work so that we could better understand the social and economic value of sport in Wales.

The research was conducted by the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University.

The first part of the research aimed to measure the social impact of sport in Wales 2016/17 using a Social Return on Investment (SROI) framework.

SROI is a framework for understanding and measuring the non-market economic, social and environmental value created by an activity, organisation or intervention.  Our research was the first time a SROI framework had been used to measure the wider social contribution of sport in Wales.   


The Wales SROI model estimates the value of the following outcomes: 

• Health (reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke; breast cancer; colon cancer; Type 2 diabetes; dementia, clinical depression and improved good health for participants)

• Subjective well-being (improved subjective well-being for participants and volunteers)

• Social capital (improved social capital for communities)

• Education (improved educational attainment and enhanced human capital);

• Crime (reduced criminal incidences) 

• Non-market benefits acquired by sports organisations utilising volunteers

For every £1 invested in sport in Wales there is a return of £2.88, according to the report

Key Findings: 

Social Return on Investment in Sport

  • For every £1 invested in sport in Wales there is a return of £2.88, according to the report
  • £3,428m of benefits for Welsh communities was generated from participating and volunteering in sport in 2016/17
  • A breakdown of the overall figure shows the social value of enhanced social capital is £651.47m; enhanced education is £91.15m; and reduced crime is £2.17m. The social value of improved health is £295.17m.
  • Subjective wellbeing accounts for a significant proportion of the social value generated in Wales (60.6%).

Economic Value of Sport

The second part of the research work was understanding the economic importance of sport.

  • The sport industry in Wales grown by 10% to £1,142m in 2016/17. The sport sector was found to out-perform pharmaceuticals, travel, accommodation and textiles industries in Wales.
  • The sporting economy contributed £1,182m in Consumer Expenditure on Sport and generated 29,700 sport-related jobs in the same year.

Here's how some of Wales' biggest events and sporting establishments have contributed to our economy:

  • In 2016, a report looking into the economic impact of the Principality Stadium showed its estimated value to the Welsh economy being £32.3m in additional Welsh economic activity/output, with £11.0m of this being gross value added. The Stadium's events calendar supported almost 400 full time equivalent jobs, at the stadium site and elsewhere in Wales through its supply chain.
  • 300,000 people descended on Cardiff City Centre as a direct result of the UEFA Champions League Finals in 2017. Of those, 95,000 visited from outside Wales, 66,000 in the Principality Stadium for the Men's Final and an additional 29,000 who visited the Football Festival in Cardiff Bay, the Women's Final or Cardiff on Match Day. It's estimated that there was a total of £26,474,000 in spectator spend.
Rugby Stadium
Sporting Wales


  • Cardiff Metropolitan University assessed Glamorgan Cricket Club's GVA at £24m in 2015 including £5m from hosting and Ashes Test match that year, supporting an equivalent of 230 FTE jobs. Two international matches held in Sophia Gardens in 2018 contributed £2.6m in consumer spend and resulted in a direct overall economic impact of £3.3m.
  • 2018's Long Course Weekend in Pembrokeshire brought in £27m in spectator/participant spend, well over £9 million in revenue for local businesses and £60k in donations to local villages in return for volunteers to help make the event possible.
  • Runners in 2017 at Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon spent £2.3m during their visit to the city.
  • The Velothon contributed £886,370 in GVA in 2018, bringing 5,598 spectators with each spending £103 per day (not including accommodation) in the capital.

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