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Social return on investment of sport

How we measure the wider non-financial impacts of sport and physical activity on society

We have developed a programme of research on measuring the Social Return on Investment (SROI) and social value of sport and physical activity.  

Research on the value of sport has traditionally focused on economic measures such as consumer spending, Gross Value Added and employment. Within this research programme, we have developed methods to value the wider contribution of sport and physical activity to society, including health, subjective wellbeing, education, crime, social capital and volunteering.  

Our research includes international, national, regional and local SROI and social value projects, with a range of stakeholders from across the sports sector including national and local government, funders, delivery organisations and national governing bodies. 

The challenge

How do you frame a policy for sport if you do not know how much the sector is worth?  There are well established methods for capturing economic value, however, they only capture part of the societal impact of sport.  This was the problem faced by governments and sports organisations locally, nationally and internationally. 

The method

Our research utilises a Social Return on Investment (SROI) framework for measuring and valuing the social impact of sport.  It was developed as part of ground-breaking research with Sport England, the DCMS and the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) in 2014.  We have further developed the method in different contexts and geographical scales.  

The impact

Our research on SROI and social value provides methods for evaluating the wider impact of sport on society. We have used these to generate social impact data for clients, which enables government and other stakeholder in the sport sector to evidence impact, justify investment, inform policy and better understand the value of sport and physical activity to everyday life.

Selected work from this programme

2020–21: Sport Flanders/ADEPS: A Sport Satellite Account for Belgium & the Social Return on Investment of Sport in Flanders & Fédération Wallonie – Bruxelles

2020–21: UEFA Research Grants Programme: The value of volunteering in grassroots football

2019–20: Sport England: The social and economic value of sport and physical activity in England 2017/18: Sport England report and SHU report

2018: Sport Wales: The social and economic value of sport in Wales

2017–19: ERASMUS SPORT +: Benefits of Outdoor Sports for Societies (BOSS)

2017: UK Sport: Social Value of medal success

2017: London Sport: Social Return on Investment of Sport in Greater London

2016–20: 4 Global/Experian: Social Value Calculator

2016: England Golf Partnership: Social Return on Investment for Golf in England

2015–16: Sheffield City Trust: 
Social Return on Investment in sport for the Sheffield City Trust group of sports facilities

2014–15: Sport England/DCMS/The Higher Education Innovation Fund: Social Return on Investment in Sport

2013-14: DCMS: A review of the social impacts of engagement with culture and sport

Funding partners


About this project

Explore the people, research centres and partner organisations behind this project.

Get in touch

Contact SPARC to discuss facilities, partnerships, doctoral research and more

Contact us

Publications

Academic papers

Davies, L. E., Taylor, P., Ramchandani, G., Christy, C. (2020). Measuring the Social Return on Investment of community sport and leisure facilities, Managing Sport and Leisure [Online 22 July 2020].

Davies, L. E., Taylor, P., Ramchandani, G., Christy, C. (2019). Social Return on Investment in Sport: A model for measuring the value of participation in England. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics [Online 24 April 2019].

Eigenschenk, B.; Thomann, A.; McClure, M.; Davies, L.; Gregory, M.; Dettweiler, U.; Inglés, E. (2019). Benefits of Outdoor Sports for Society. A Systematic Literature Review and Reflections on Evidence. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16, 937.

Research reports

Davies, L., Christy, E., Ramchandani, G. and Taylor, P. (2020). Social Return on Investment of sport and physical activity in England

Gregory M, Davies L, Ramchandani G, McClure, M. (2019). Benefits of Outdoor Sports for Society (BOSS). Development of methodology to value social impact of outdoor sport. European Network of Outdoor Sports: Brussels.

Gregory M, Davies L, Ramchandani G, McClure, M. (2019). Benefits of Outdoor Sports for Society (BOSS). Testing of methodology to value social benefits of outdoor sport. European Network of Outdoor Sports: Brussels.

Taylor, P., Davies, L., Wells, P., Gilbertson, J. and Tayleur, W. (2015). A review of the social impacts of culture and sport. CASE, DCMS, London. pp. 1-136.

Research team

Larissa Davies stood posing for a photo

Dr Larissa Davies

Reader in Sport Management

Larissa Davies' profile
Girish Ramchandani

Dr Girish Ramchandani

Associate Professor of Sport Management

Girish Ramchandani's profile
Lizzie Christy 27737

Elizabeth Christy

Research Assistant

Elizabeth Christy's profile
Maxine Gregory 122943

Maxine Gregory

Senior Research Fellow

Maxine Gregory's profile
Kerry Griffiths 504370

Dr Kerry Griffiths

Research Fellow

Dr Kerry Griffiths's profile

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