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The great benefits sport has on Irish society and economy

Written by Contributor, on 20th Oct 2021. Posted in General

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Sports have always been a great source of entertainment for most people and a great way to exercise. That’s why leading bookmakers offer all the odds on every major sport as fans are always looking for a way to enjoy the industry even without being players. In Ireland, over 100,000 people avoid diseases through sports and physical activities – says a new survey.

According to a study taken by the Sheffield Hallam University in conjunction with Sport Ireland over the last decade, the sports industry has grown more than the entire economy. This study aimed at gaining a better understanding of sports in the country and its returns to the government’s investment in the industry. That includes mental and physical health, tourism, economic activity, volunteering, and sports club membership. Some of the key findings in the study include:

Over 95,000 cases of diseases were avoided in Ireland thanks to Physical exercises in 2019, with about €405 million saved. 
• The diseases prevented include type 2 diabetes, stroke, and certain types of cancer.
• The Ireland sports industry employed over 60,000 people in 2018
• Ireland’s expenditure on sports-related goods and services exceeded €3340b million in 2018, accounting for around 3.1% of the total consumer expenditure largely driven by elements like sports club subscriptions, fitness and club subscriptions, and garment purchases.

The research has two sections: the impact of the economy on sports in Ireland and the health impact in participation in sports and physical activities. According to Catherine Martin TD, (minister of culture, tourism, and arts at Gaeltacht, sport, and media center), there is a need to understand the impact of sports in Ireland and the gains from the sporting activities by the government. On the same note, physical exercise has significantly reduced the number of people with mental health issues. The data also suggests that there will be a positive change in the mental health of the whole nation and the economy in the future.

Jack Chambers TD, State minister for the Gaeltacht & Sport, added that the government is aware of the benefits of physical activities in sport, including improving the mood and preventing more than 100 000 cases of diseases, saving more than 400 million pounds. The study shows that physical activity plays a huge role in Ireland’s economy. According to Jack Chambers, the previous 2008 report revealed that sports expenditure increased by 77%, contributing to 3.3 billion pounds to the country's economy by 2018.

Sports-related employment has also grown significantly since 2008. That shows that the sports industry is an excellent source of employment for many Irish people. That explains why the sports market is a major part of Irish culture, contributing significantly to the economy.

Volunteers play an important role in the Irish sports community since they assist in sustaining clubs and input to the activities of the amateur community and professional sports. The absence of volunteers would mean that the number of sports would be low and more challenging to deliver.

According to the study, the wage generated by 435,000 volunteers in Ireland sport stood at 1.5 billion pounds in 2018, increasing by 0.6 billion from 2008. John Treacy, the chief executive officer of sport Ireland, embraced the study stating that the study shows the positive side of the sport, which is critical in the development of the sporting sector in the future. John recognized that the economic impact of the sporting sector can’t be ignored, although it’s not equitable to the health benefits resulting from sports and physical activities. John also promised the full support of the sporting sector and the involved parties will see the benefits in the future.

This study was conducted by the Sports Industry Research Center at Sheffield Hallam University. The organization has a proven track record of developing approaches for measuring the value of sports in connection to the economy, health, and other broader outcomes. The Sports Industry Research Centre has also done similar research in the UK for Sports England, UK Sports, Sport Northern Ireland, and Sport Wales. They’ve also conducted research internationally in countries like Belgium, Lithuania, Japan, Malaysia, Turkey, and Australia.

According to the Head of the Sport Industry Research Centre at the Sheffield Hallam University Simon Shibli, the organization is delighted to have the chance to work with Sport Ireland in calculating the economic importance of sports on the country’s economy. The work updates their earlier research on the country in 2010 and largely benefits from the experience that the organization has gained from conducting similar studies in Japan and the EU over the last decade.

Based on the organization’s analysis, sports is a resilient and growing component of Ireland’s economy and a great catalyst for employment. Sports also have the potential to enhance people's mental and physical well-being, while trying to inspire and entertain us. That’s possible while simultaneously contributing to economic growth and recovery. 


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