Advanced Television

Report: FTA sport worth €4.9bn to European economy

April 22, 2024

An independent report commissioned by the EBU from Oxford Economics estimates that the economic impact of public service media (PSM) sports broadcasting contributed €4.9 billion to Europe’s GDP and supported over 60,000 jobs in 2022. The findings include direct contributions from content production and broadcasting and significant indirect and induced impacts due to supply chain spending and employees’ consumer expenditure. The study also explores wider impacts, such as the way in which PSM coverage attracts sponsorship income for sport.

The Economic Impact of the Sports Activities of Public Service Media evaluates the impact of 188,000 hours of free-to-air (FTA) sports programming across radio and television, from 44 EBU Members in 31 countries, including high-value events such as the FIFA World Cup and the World Athletics Championships. It also includes the online engagement of millions of sports fans through websites, apps and social media.

The report also reveals the many benefits of FTA sports broadcasting on culture and society, reinforcing the pivotal and unifying role of PSM organisations in this space.

“Our analysis unveils a symbiotic relationship between free-to-air sports broadcasting and economic vitality, illustrating the far-reaching ripple effects of this dynamic industry right across the continent,” commented Doug Godden, Lead Economist at Oxford Economics and author of the report. “What’s more, providing sporting action to audiences for free has great value to the public of the countries in which EBU Members operate.”

The economic footprint of EBU Member sports broadcasting can be broken down into three main areas:

Direct impact: PSM production and broadcasting of sports content contributed approximately €0.9 billion to the GDP and employed over 5,000 workers. Each worker generated an estimated economic value of €166,000, significantly above the regional average.

Indirect impact: EBU Members’ spending on goods and services, including cameras, media rights, catering, and editing services, stimulated an additional €2.7 billion in GDP and supported over 38,000 jobs across the region. Notably, spending on sports rights played a key role in driving this impact.

Induced impact: The economic activity generated by the wages paid to EBU Member employees and those in their supply chain led to a further €1.4 billion contribution to GDP and supported an additional 16,420 jobs.

As well as providing broader economic advantages such as leveraging additional income streams for sports through sponsorship, advertising revenue and event hosting fees (and often stimulating local tourism from visiting sports fans), FTA media exposure can also help grow and expand the fan base of ‘emerging’ sports, leading to increased gate receipts and merchandising.

The report also reinforces how PSM sports coverage is a catalyst for wider societal benefits such as promoting grassroots sports participation and health and wellbeing. The corresponding reduction in healthcare costs and productivity losses due to illness, shows the impact extending well beyond the playing field.

Glen Killane, Executive Director, Eurovision Sport, said: “This report underscores how central public service media is to the sports ecosystem in Europe. With a combined potential audience of 1 billion people, our Members ensure that sport has the best shop window in the world to inspire and encourage the athletes of the future.  Supporting sports federations at national and international level is just one of the effects of the investment our Members provide. As non-profit organisations our investment goes straight to where it matters most, providing an immense multiplier effect.  It’s not just about what happens on the field: it’s the countless opportunities it unlocks off the field, driving substantial economic growth – worth billions in real terms – and delivering profound benefits for individual mental and physical health This would not be possible without the support, investment and dedication of our Members.”

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