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29 November 2022

Strength Of Welsh Multi-Million Pound Sports Economy Highlighted in New Economic Report

Cardiff’s £55.5m sports economy can continue to bring prosperity to the region and create more jobs if the Government invests more money in women’s elite sport and supports green initiatives amongst clubs, says a new report published today.

The joint ‘Competing for Growth’ report by law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) has been produced to highlight the vital role of the sports economy* in UK and how further growth can be unlocked.

According to the report, total sport related GVA** in Cardiff in 2019 stood at £68.1m and accounted for 2,100 jobs. Despite the challenge caused by Covid, the city added another 100 jobs in the sector but saw the total size of the sports economy fall by 18.5%.

In comparison Swansea’s employment levels fell by 9.5% between 2019 and 2020 with GVA reducing by 16.5%.

In assessing the value of the sports sector to city economies, the report looks at the activities of football and rugby clubs, plus community sports teams, local gyms and leisure centres, factoring in the commercial side of the sports economy, including manufacture and retail of sports goods.

Sport has always played a prominent role in Wales and while Cardiff boasts the Millennium Stadium, the largest in the country, with a capacity of over 74,000 and home of the national rugby union team; football has also made great strides in recent years, buoyed by the inspiring performances of the national team, that has once again qualified for the World Cup.

Swansea itself has modern sporting facilities, coupled with a rich tradition in rugby union and the city is still undergoing its own £1bn transformation scheme.

Looking at ways to further unlock the potential of the UK’s sports economy, the report makes three recommendations to government:

  • Women’s Sport – Unlock funding to support the further growth of women’s professional sport including Women’s Super League
  • Climate change – Provide funding and guidelines for green objectives for sports clubs
  • Financial sustainability – Legislate for a new independent regulator for Football

Thomas Barnard, partner and National Head of Irwin Mitchell’s Sports sector team, said:

“Welsh cities have often been among the UK cities with the highest percentage of people who regularly participate in sport. With the superb new stadiums and infrastructure already in place, there’s no reason why Wales can’t build on these figures and drive a sporting renaissance in the valleys.

“The increasing numbers of women’s games being televised and attracting growing audiences in the stands and at home has proved women’s sport is capable of commercial success and generating revenue on and off the field. Nowhere is this more true than in Wales. The strength of the women’s national football and rugby teams is inspiring a new generation and has shown that women’s sport can be a real driver for a robust, successful Welsh sporting sector.”

Irwin Mitchell’s sport sector team advises individual athletes; sports clubs; leisure groups; national and international governing bodies and sports agencies. Its team of experts advise on a diverse range of issues including tax and image rights structures; dispute resolution and disciplinary action; commercial transactions; property; IP and employment law. Irwin Mitchell is the official legal partner of England Rugby; UK Athletics; and British Rowing.

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