As for Europe, an E.U. working group in 2007 devel-
oped an approach to assessing the macroeconomic
impact of the sports sector. Under the “Vilnius Defini-
tion of Sport”, the sector consists of three concentric
circles: 1) “sporting activities”, as defined under the
European Commission’s statistical code (NACE 92.6),
which includes organisations and facilities associated
with amateur and professional sporting events and
activities; 2) activities that are inputs to sport, such
as sporting goods and services; and 3) “all products
and services which have a (direct or indirect) relation
to any sport activity but without being necessary to
do sport”, such as insurance, advertising, education,
and healthcare.
Using this definition, researchers
at the Austrian sports ministry estimated the size of
the European sports sector, ranging from about $54.5
billion in the inner ring, to $380 billion in the inner and
middle rings, to $492.5 billion in all three rings. Under
this most expansive definition, the sports sector ac-
counts for 3.7 per cent of E.U. GDP and about 5.4 per
cent of its employment.
The North American and European sports sectors thus
add up tomore than $900 billion annually. Given the
huge size and rapid growth of emergingmarketswhere
sport has a similarly high profile, it seems reasonable,
even conservative, to project theworld total as exceed-
ing $1 trillion.
The sector has also experienced healthy growth
in recent decades, with a constant compound an-
nual growth rate of about five per cent. Leading
the sector’s growth is the value of professional
sports franchises:
suggests the value of
the top 20 European football clubs grown at a
CAGR of 7.0 per cent between 2004 and 2010,
while that of NFL Franchises has grown slightly
quicker at 7.9 per cent.
The consumer-based
aspects of sport – equipment and other related
goods – grow more slowly, at between three and
four per cent, and are subject to greater fluctua-
tion with the state of the global economy.
Nevertheless, however it is quantified, the global
sports industry is a massive business, much bigger
than commonly appreciated. As the generator of
extraordinary wealth, the sector is thus a source of
profitable business opportunities but also an inviting
target for malefactors.
i PriceWaterhouseCoopers,
Back on Track? The Outlook for
the Global Sports Market to 2013
look.pdf (accessed 18 February 2011). For the high end,
see Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek,
Beyond the Box Score:
An Insider’s Guide to the $750 Billion Business of Sports
den City, NJ: Morgan James Publishing, 2010). The size
estimate proclaimed in the subtitle is not discussed rigor-
ously or analytically in the book.
ii Daniel A. Rascher, “What Is the Size of the Sports In-
, 1 October, 2005,
pdf (accessed 18 February 2011). The full breakdown
was apparently used by Sarah Adams, “Sports League
Economic Structure and Fiscal Focus”,
ture.fiscal.focus.sarah.adams.htm (accessed 18 February
2011). Quotation from Adams.
iii Plunket Research, Ltd. “Sports Industry Overview”, http://
Statistics/tabid/273/Default.aspx (accessed 18 February
iv For the Vilnius definition of sport, see the EC documents
Vilnius%20Definition%20Sport.xls (all accessed 18 Feb-
ruary 2011). NACE codes are a statistical classification
system for economic activities in the European Union
and are similar to SIC or NAIS codes in the United States.
v D. Dimitrov, C. Helmenstein, A. Kleissner, B. Moser, and
J. Schindler, “Die Makroökonomischen Effekte des Sport
in Europa”,
Studie im Auftrag des Bundeskanzleramts, Sek-
tion Sport
, März 2006,
rektur.pdf (accessed 18 February 2011). See also, “Euro
2008: The Economic Perspectives”,
viewdoc.php?LAN=en&FILE=doc&ID=575 (accessed 18
February 2011).
vi “The Business of Sport,”
, available at
forbes.com/business/sportsmoney (accessed 18 February
vii “426. Sporting Goods Sales, by Product Category”, United
States Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce,
goods_sales_by_product_category.html (accessed 18
February 2011); “Consumer Sports Equipment Purchases
by Sport”, 18 June 2009, National Sporting Goods Asso-
ciation website,
merSportsEquipmentPurchasesbySport.A.pdf (accessed
18 February 2011).
GUARDING THE GAME Preserving the Integrity of Sport
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