Sport commands a unique
position in the modern world.
As a business, the sports sec-
tor is enormous, generating
estimated annual revenues of
more than $1 trillion* world-
wide, a total far above that
generally believed. Indeed,
the North American and European sports sectors alone add up more than
$900 billion annually (see sidebar). Given the huge size and rapid growth of
emerging sports markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, it seems
reasonable to project the world total as exceeding $1 trillion, probably by a
healthy amount. The sector incorporates scores of organised sports, thou-
sands of professional and countless amateur teams, a complex weave of
national and international leagues and federations, mega-events like the
Olympics and FIFA World Cup, millions of athletes, and billions of fans dis-
tributed across every country. Sport encompasses not only athletes, but also
an immense ecosystem of event managers, specialised consultancies, players’
associations, agents, broadcasters, sponsors and advertisers, equipment and
clothing manufacturers, journalists and commentators, bookmakers, fantasy
leagues, and firms focused on sports memorabilia and collectibles.
But $1 trillion may not fully reflect the power of sport as an economic en-
gine. The sports ecosystem is linked to, and supports, other large economic
clusters such as healthcare, hospitality and tourism, education, and enter-
tainment. The presence of major professional teams is worth ten of millions
of dollars annually to cities and regions, making sport a potentially important
participant in the economic development, diversification, and growth of com-
munities across the globe.
And yet, sport is more than simply big business. Well before it became an
economic dynamo, it was a critical element of human society, fulfilling neces-
sary social functions and delivering social benefits. For thousands of years,
sport has been a means of teaching young people important skills and values
even as it has become mass entertainment. Sport was a potent source of com-
munity spirit and pride and a means for sublimating violent urges and even
for propitiation of the gods. The prominent social role of sport was evident
of Sport
* To simplify the presentation of financial data in this report, all figures will be quoted in U.S. dollars
GUARDING THE GAME Preserving the Integrity of Sport
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