Sports Minister Paul Givan, MLA has launched a report showing that sport contributes £867m to the Northern Ireland economy.
The launch of the Economic Importance of Sport in Northern Ireland 2013 report, commissioned by Sport Northern Ireland, took place at Parliament Buildings during a meeting of the Sport Matters Monitoring Group, which reviews delivery of Northern Ireland’s Strategy for Sport and Physical Recreation; Sport Matters.
The report, produced by the Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre, also revealed that consumer spending on sport in Northern Ireland is calculated to be £932m, which equates to £517 per head of population, and that the local sport sector is responsible for 25,700 full time equivalent jobs here.
Launching the report, Sports Minister Paul Givan commented: “Today’s meeting was an excellent opportunity to review progress on implementing the Sport Matters Strategy for Sport. As Sports Minister I am committed to ensuring that Northern Ireland enjoys all the benefits that sport offers, be it improved health and wellbeing, more cohesive communities or, as this report’s findings reflect, a valuable contribution to our local economy. I look forward to continuing working with Sport NI and our partners in the sport sector and beyond to deliver on the Sports Matters strategy and deliver positive outcomes through sport.”
Interim Chair of Sport Northern Ireland, Brian Delaney, welcomed the report, stating: “We are delighted with these findings as in economic terms they vindicate the aims and objectives of our sport strategy, Sport Matters, which has provided a framework for growth. Sport is good for sport’s sake, it is good for achieving social outcomes, and now we know it is good for the economy too. Sport also plays its part in attracting inbound tourism with events like the World Rally Championship and the Giro d’Italia having highly significant economic and place marketing effects. In 2019 The Open Golf Championship will be staged in Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951 and promises to be the biggest sporting event ever staged in the country.”
Professor Simon Shibli from the Sport Industry Research Centre said: “These figures are particularly impressive because they show that the sport industry has grown at a much faster rate than the economy as a whole. Sport is a resilient industry, when the economy contracted in 2008 sport contracted at a lesser rate and now that the economy is growing the sport sector is growing at a faster rate.”
Today’s meeting of the Sport Matters Monitoring Group was the first to be chaired by the new Minister since taking up his post, and was also attended by representatives from Sport Northern Ireland, the Department for Communities and other NI Executive Departments, the Northern Ireland Sports Forum and Northern Ireland’s 11 District Councils.