Federation of Irish Sport partners with Investec to evaluate economic impact of sport in Ireland


Research to evaluate value of sport to the economy first major evaluation study since 2010 Irish sports industry supports 40,000 jobs, stimulates €1.9 billion in household spending, and generates €1 billion in tourism receipts each year

The Federation of Irish Sport is partnering with specialist bank Investec to undertake a body of research to capture the economic value and impact of sport in Ireland.

The Federation of Irish Sport is the representative organisation for the National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) and the Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) in Ireland.  The Federation’s membership consists of over 100 NGBs and LSPs from all 32 counties, including the GAA, FAI, IRFU, Swim Ireland and Athletics Ireland.

The research, which will be led by Investec Ireland’s award-winning economic research team, will evaluate the value of sport to the economy, government, social welfare and volunteering, as well as its health and social benefits.

Sport is believed to be worth in excess of €2.4 billion to the Exchequer; supports more than 40,000 jobs (2013) and generates €1 billion in tourism receipts annually. According to a 2018 Onside Report, the sports sponsorship market has grown from €75 million in 2009 to €140 million in 2018, representing an 87% increase over ten years.

The wider sports community is complemented by an additional 450,000 volunteers whose contribution in economic terms is between €322 million and €582 million annually, based on data dating back to 2010.

In 2010 the Irish Sports Council commissioned the Indecon Report to assess the economic impact of sport in Ireland.  The report concluded that following a total state investment of €618.3 million in 2008, the Exchequer received €922.7 million in taxes from sports-related activity. In effect, for every €100 invested by the Government, it received €149 in sports-related taxes.

The Irish Sports Policy 2018–2027, published in July 2018, saw the Government pledge to double sports funding from €111 million per year to €220 million over a ten-year period, including an 11% increase in capital funding in the 2019 Budget.

Speaking about the new study Federation of Irish Sport CEO, Mary O’Connor said;
“It is nine years since the sports community last undertook a piece of research of this scale.  All economic indicators suggest sport’s economic value to Ireland has grown significantly in the intervening period.  Sponsorship money has nearly doubled, tourism receipts are up, more adults are participating in organised sport than ever before, volunteer numbers continue to grow and attendances at major sports events remain buoyant.

To this end, we are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Investec to identify the economic impact and economy value of sport to Ireland in 2019, and to understand how it feeds into the economic vibrancy of other stands of the economy, including tourism and hospitality, retail, health and wellbeing and fitness.

In July 2018, the Irish Government published its National Sports Policy 2018-2027. Included in this was a commitment to double investment in sport from €111 million to on to €222 million annually over the next ten years We believe that the outcome of the study will endorse the government’s decision to make this investment which is of course also an investment in the future health and wellbeing of our people.

This Government investment will help give Irish sport the necessary building blocks to further develop its economic footprint in Ireland, by improving sporting infrastructures and growing its participation rates, which will in turn create further opportunities for corporate investment, sponsorship and collaboration.

The Investec research findings will be published in September 2019.