In 2019, Sport England commissioned us to carry out research on the social and economic value of sport in England. Building on the foundation of an earlier iteration of a Social Return on Investment (SROI) model from 2014, and more recently published evidence, we measured and valued the impact of sport and physical activity on physical and mental health, subjective wellbeing, individual development, and social and community development.
We utilised an SROI framework to measure the value of 16 social outcomes generated through engagement in sport and physical activity, and the costs (inputs) of providing opportunities for engagement. The SROI provides values for England in 2017/18 and expresses the total value of social outcomes as a proportion of inputs. We valued physical and mental health (10 outcomes); mental (subjective) wellbeing; individual development (2 outcomes); and social and community development (3 outcomes).
Our research revealed that £71.61bn of social value was generated from engagement in community sport and physical activity from £21.85bn of inputs, giving an SROI value of 3.28. This means that for every £1 invested in community sport and physical activity in England, £3.28 worth of social impact was created for individuals and society in 2017/18. The largest amount of social value (58%) was generated through mental wellbeing (£41.76bn).
The research enables Sport England to articulate the case for investment in sport and physical activity to stakeholders across and beyond the sport and physical activity sector, including to other government departments. The research also has wider ranging impact for the sector, enabling delivery organisations, funders and policy makers to identify and demonstrate the value of sport and physical activity to society.
See full SHU report and Sports England report for further information.