EBU report reveals value of free-to-air sports broadcasting to European economy

Sports broadcasting contributed €4.9 billion to Europe’s GDP (gross domestic product) and supported over 60,000 jobs in 2022, according to a report commissioned by the EBU from Oxford Economics on the economic impact of public service media (PSM).

The findings include direct contributions from content production and broadcasting and significant indirect and induced impacts due to supply chain spending and employees’ consumer expenditure. The study also explores wider impacts, such as the way in which PSM coverage attracts sponsorship income for sport.

Eurovision Sport executive director Glen Killane said: “This report underscores how central public service media is to the sports ecosystem in Europe. With a combined potential audience of 1 billion people, our Members ensure that sport has the best shop window in the world to inspire and encourage the athletes of the future.

“Supporting sports federations at national and international level is just one of the effects of the investment our Members provide. As non-profit organizations our investment goes straight to where it matters most, providing an immense multiplier effect.  It’s not just about what happens on the field: it’s the countless opportunities it unlocks off the field, driving substantial economic growth – worth billions in real terms – and delivering profound benefits for individual mental and physical health This would not be possible without the support, investment and dedication of our Members.”

The Economic Impact of the Sports Activities of Public Service Media evaluates the impact of 188,000 hours of free-to-air (FTA) sports programming across radio and television, from 44 EBU Members in 31 countries, including high-profile, high-value events such as the FIFA World Cup Finals and the World Athletics Championships. It also includes the online engagement of millions of sports fans through websites, apps and social media.

Eurovision Sport executive director Glen Killane will speak at SVG Europe’s Create Share Engage 2024. Sponsored by Appear, Create Share Engage is a one-day event for sports federations, leagues, associations, clubs and other rights owners, as well as broadcasters, agencies and producers, that will focus on creating and distributing sports content, and engaging fans, across social media, streaming and other digital platforms.

For more information and to register click here

The report also reveals the many benefits of FTA sports broadcasting on culture and society, reinforcing the pivotal and unifying role of PSM organizations in this space.

“Our analysis unveils a symbiotic relationship between free-to-air sports broadcasting and economic vitality, illustrating the far-reaching ripple effects of this dynamic industry right across the continent,” said Doug Godden, Lead Economist at Oxford Economics and author of the report. “What’s more, providing sporting action to audiences for free has great value to the public of the countries in which EBU Members operate.”

According to the EBU, the economic footprint of EBU Member sports broadcasting can be broken down into three main areas:

Direct impact: PSM production and broadcasting of sports content contributed approximately EUR 0.9 billion to the GDP and employed over 5,000 workers. Each worker generated an estimated economic value of EUR 166,000, significantly above the regional average.

Indirect impact: EBU Members’ spending on goods and services, including cameras, media rights, catering, and editing services, stimulated an additional EUR 2.7 billion in GDP and supported over 38,000 jobs across the region. Notably, spending on sports rights played a key role in driving this impact.

Induced impact: The economic activity generated by the wages paid to EBU Member employees and those in their supply chain led to a further EUR 1.4 billion contribution to GDP and supported an additional 16,420 jobs.

As well as providing broader economic advantages such as leveraging additional income streams for sports through sponsorship, advertising revenue and event hosting fees (and often stimulating local tourism from visiting sports fans), FTA media exposure can also help grow and expand the fan base of ‘emerging’ sports, leading to increased gate receipts and merchandising.

The report also reinforces how PSM sports coverage is a catalyst for wider societal benefits such as promoting grassroots sports participation and health and wellbeing. The corresponding reduction in healthcare costs and productivity losses due to illness, shows the impact extending well beyond the playing field.

Glen Killane and Doug Godden will take part in a LinkedIn Live event on Thursday 2 May at 11.30 CEST.

Hosted by Florence Hartmann, Head of EBU Media Intelligence, the conversation will cover the impact of free-to-air sports broadcasting, plus leveraging additional income streams for sports organizations, promoting grassroots participation, and fostering innovation in the sports sector. Join the conversation HERE.

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