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Calculating the Social Return on Investment

The final stage of an SROI analysis is to calculate the SROI ratio. Table 6.1 summarises the calculation.  Total inputs are £1.35bn, of which households contribute over 55%.  The total value of all outcomes is £5.98bn.  The largest contribution is generated by social capital (48%), followed by subjective wellbeing (34%) and health (10.4%). The net social value (the difference between the value of the outcomes and inputs) is £4.63bn, giving an SROI ratio of 4.44.  This means that for every £1 invested in sport in Wales in 2021/22, £4.44 worth of social impacts are generated.

Table 6.1: Summary of the SROI Calculation

Social outcomes

Overall £m


Inputs1,347.05 100.0
Households751.21   55.8
Voluntary sector429.51   31.9
Public sector166.33   12.3
Outcomes5,979.61 100.0
Health621.19   10.4
Subjective wellbeing2,056.90   34.4
Social Capital2,872.01   48.0
Volunteer Productivity429.51     7.2
Net social value4,632.56  
SROI ratio4.44  

Table 6.2 presents the overall social value of sport in Wales by gender.  Men accounted for £3.48bn (58%) and women £2.50bn (42%) of the overall social value.  This is primarily explained by a larger proportion of men participating and volunteering in sport than women.  

Table 6.2: Overall social value of sport in Wales by gender 

Social outcomes

Men £m

Women £m

Overall £m

Prevention of disease349.94329.43679.31
Increased injuries-31.25-26.93-58.18
Subjective wellbeing1,165.85891.052,056.90
Social Capital1,708.281,163.722,872.01
Volunteer productivity291.14138.37429.51

Table 6.3 presents the overall social value of sport in Wales by age.  The value of participants aged 16-64 was £4.66bn, accounting for 78% of value reflecting the fact that the majority of participants and volunteers in Wales are under the age of 65.  The value of participants over 65 years of age was £1.32bn.

Table 6.3: Overall social value of sport in Wales by age

Social outcomes

16-64 (£m)

65+ (£m)

Overall (£m)

Prevention of disease120.16559.21679.31
Increased injuries-49.94-8.24-58.18
Subjective wellbeing1,761.91294.992,056.90
Social Capital2,455.27416.732,872.01
Volunteer productivity369.2160.30429.51

Ordinarily in an SROI the valuation of outcomes would be adjusted for duration (how long an outcome lasts) and drop-off (the deterioration of an outcome over time).  However, as with previous population-level studies, the SROI of sport in Wales is a snapshot of a single year, therefore it is not necessary to adjust for these factors.  Other adjustments such as deadweight (what would have happened anyway), is implicit in the case of non-participation, and attribution is already accounted for because many of the empirical studies on which the monetary estimates are based are of a multivariate nature, and they have already incorporated consideration of other likely contributing factors.  As the study considers all sports activities, displacement (how much of the outcome has displaced other outcomes) is not relevant, although sports may displace other leisure activities, which has not been taken into account.

The research included a sensitivity analysis of the social outcome valuation.  The research team is confident about the health data, and so we tested the sensitivity of the benefit assumptions in the SROI model in two other ways.  In the first scenario (HIGH), we used an alternative approach to valuing subjective wellbeing and social capital.  Rather than using the financial proxy derived for sport only, we utilised the value for sport and physical activity, and adjusted the participation rate based on sport’s share of overall physical activity, in the same way we did for health.  This resulted in a higher social value (£6.45bn), and an SROI of 4.79.  In the second scenario (LOW), we assumed that all volunteers in sports clubs are also participants, and that those people who participate and volunteer benefit from the subjective wellbeing or social capital value associated with their volunteering only, rather than both.  This scenario reduced the social value (£5.44bn) and the SROI to 4.04.  In both cases the SROI ratio does not fluctuate materially, producing a range of 4.04-4.79, which lends further credence to the research findings.


This study demonstrates that sport in Wales generates considerable value to society across several wellbeing goals including A healthier Wales, A Wales of cohesive communities and A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language. The SROI also demonstrates that the value generated by sport in Wales is greater than the cost of providing those opportunities by some margin, suggesting that investment in the sector not only contributes to the wellbeing of individuals and society, but it is also good for the economy.  

The SROI study was deliberately narrower in scope than the previous SROI for Wales, by only including those outcomes that could be robustly evidenced, to maintain a high level of rigour.  As such we have excluded some outcomes included in the previous study for which insufficient empirical evidence exists, such as educational attainment and crime prevention.  Thus, the findings presented in this report are again likely to be a conservative assessment for sport in Wales.

The research team suggest several high-level recommendations, based on the findings of the study.  First, we recommend that Sport Wales utilise the findings of this study to inform and engage stakeholders across the sector, from the grassroots through and up to Welsh Government.  Second, we recommend that this study is used as a high-level baseline for measuring progress in the sector and is repeated periodically, approximately every 3-5 years, depending on the availability of new evidence and data for Wales. Third, we recommend utilising this study to inform future priority research areas.  A significant improvement of this study from the previous iteration is that it uses Welsh data to derive valuations for subjective wellbeing and social capital. However, notable omissions and limitations in this study that merit investigation in the future include the measurement and valuation outcomes for young people and a fuller investigation of the negative effects of participation.