Sport worth £11bn thanks to couch potatoes

British consumers now spend almost twice as much a year on sport as they do going on holiday within this country.

British consumers now spend almost twice as much a year on sport as they do going on holiday within this country.

But the news does not necessarily indicate a healthier society; armchair followers are to thank for the rise in spending, and the biggest area of increased expenditure is pay-television subscriptions.

The figures also show that we still only spend half the amount on sport that we do on motor vehicles or eating out.

The figures illustrate a UK leisure industry spend of just over £13bn for 1998, the latest year for which statistics are available. The figure for tourism is £7.2bn. This follows Government research last year showing that the whole leisure economy is now bigger than that for food.

The analysis was carried out for Sport England, formerly the Sports Council, and details for England alone show an annual spend of over £11bn, an increase of over 17 per cent since 1995. It also reveals an increase in employment in sport of more than 20,000 over the same period.

The study was undertaken by the Leisure Industry Research Centre at Sheffield University, which found increased spending reflected in all areas of sport except football pools, where income has dropped 40 per cent due to competition from the National Lottery.

The biggest rises were seen in television rental, and cable and satellite subscriptions related to sport, which went up almost 100 per cent - reflecting the increasing share of the TV sports market taken by BSkyB.

"Sport is very sexy at the moment. It's sexy in terms of being cool and in terms of the whole growth in health and fitness activity," said Professor Chris Gratton, who heads the Sheffield department. He used the example of football, which in the past 10 years has been transformed from an industry in long-term decline to a business with tremendous image and global impact.

But even in the area of participation sports he sees a "radical change" over this period. "Sport has gone from something driven by government grants and voluntary effort into a major industry," he said.

Spending on equipment and services is double what it was 15 to 20 years ago. While participation in team sports such as football and rugby is static, the growth has been in relatively high-cost areas like gym membership and clothing.

The study shows that spending on sports clothing rose by more than 18 per cent to £1.4m, while subscriptions and fees over the 1995-98 period rose by 21 per cent to nearly £2.1m.

Trevor Brooking CBE, chairman of Sport England, said:"More people are joining clubs which suggests that we're getting more people into sport," he said. "The value of sport to the individual, the community and the country continues to grow."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links