Sports industry is a real winner

James Phipps, of Excalibur, which sponsors many sports in the town, including Swindon Supermarine, pictured with Supermarine  chairman Jez Webb

James Phipps, of Excalibur, which sponsors many sports in the town, including Swindon Supermarine, pictured with Supermarine chairman Jez Webb

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @Michael_Benke

The sports industry contributed almost £70m to the Swindon economy in 2012, according to figures released by Sport England.

The organisation has included a wide variety of factors to come up with the figure, including the employment provided through participation, money generated by spectators and even gambling.

On top of that, the figures show that £90m was as a result of the health benefits associated with sports participation, such as the costs to the NHS.

The figures, calculated using Gross Value Added (profit plus wages), provide the first real snapshot of what the industry contributes to the economy.

They show that almost £27m is contributed through participation sports. This includes wages paid out at sports clubs and any profits generated.

More than £5m is linked in with the spectator sports and money generated at grounds while more than £1m is generated at local betting shops.

With the town limited in the number of fully professional teams, it demonstrates the importance that the grass roots and semi-professional teams play in the Swindon economy.

Jez Webb, the owner of Swindon Supermarine, said: “There are about 20 people involved with the club on a volunteer basis but much of the money we spend goes into the local economy.

“We work closely with Arkell’s to stock the bar which we sell at matches, and all of our signs are made by local writers.

“When you look across Swindon, you can see the smaller clubs contribute in a big way.

“What I would like to see is more money from the top level coming down to grass roots level. These figures show the benefits to everyone of spreading the wealth a little more evenly.”

The Chamber of Commerce believes that while much of the focus is often on the large sums of money involved at the top level of sport, the contribution at lower levels is often overlooked.

Claire Prosser, the policy executive at the Swindon Chamber of Commerce, said: “Sport in the UK is big business. Although media focus is on the elite sports leagues and competitions, the consumer sports industry generates millions of pounds to the economy. “Health and wellbeing initiatives result in more people wanting to get fit which means more being spent on equipment and clothing. Chamber member Excalibur Communications in Swindon and their sponsorship of various clubs including Swindon Town FC, Swindon Supermarine FC, Swindon Wildcats Ice Hockey and Swindon Cricket Club, demonstrates how businesses can contribute and encourage sport and fitness in the community.”

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