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Economic Impact of Sports - SBI Barcelona

Economic Impact of Sports

To varying degrees, sports touches almost every human being. To some it is an active trigger of emotions while some may consider it passive. A complex set of variables determine the social or economic impact of sports.


What really is an economic impact? The Oxford Reference says “The impact or effect on an economy (of a place, region, or country) of a particular activity, project, or programme”. In the case of sports, it is a culmination of direct and indirect economic benefits of the sports event or the league in a particular country


From national to international sporting events, economic impacts are immense. In 1994, the U.S. reportedly spent $500 million on hosting the FIFA World Cup. From there to 2022 in Qatar who spent a whopping $220 billion for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Now, all the amount spent includes the infrastructure of the cities too, aimed at contributing to a long term economic growth of the nation.


How does the economic impacts of the recent tournaments / leagues fare?


A Comparison


The comparison is in no way competing one sport / event to another, it is just an indicative measure of its impact on the local economy. We take English premier League, Super Bowl 2024 and Champions League 2023 Final in Istanbul as a case study.


Economic Impact of Sports - SBI Barcelona


  • Super Bowl 2024 in Las Vegas was expected to add $215mn to the local economy
  • As per EY Assessment Report for 2021/22, economic impact of the Premier League was £8.0bn to the UK economy
  • Similarly, for the UEFA Champions League final in Istanbul in 2023, the event was assumed to add $120mn to the Istanbul/Turkish economy tourism


We will explore each of these events and some more one by one


Super Bowl 2024: Las Vegas


Apart from being the most watched and possibly the most important sports tournament in the USA, it is also counted as one of the most impactful events in terms or economy in the host city as well as the entire country. So how economically impactful is it?

According to the US Chambers of Commerce:

  • $215mn expected to be spent in the host city on food, drinks, hotels and game related items
  • 150,000 additional visitors expected to come to the city for Super Bowl
  • $17.3bn expected to be spent across the country on food, drinks, apparels, decorations and other purchases


In the 2023 Arizona Super Bowl 102,598 out-of-state-visitors came and spending over $221mn


Economic Impact of Sports - SBI Barcelona


How has it fared? According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the visitors number could reach as high as 450,000, and spending over the long Super Bowl weekend could reach as high as $1.1 billion!


The Premier League: 2021/22 Assessment


The Premier League commissions EY to conduct a study to understand its economic impact on the UK economy. In assessment year 2020/21, EY report suggests the economic impact to £7.6bn which grew by 5% to £8.0bn in the assessment year 2021/22


Other highlights:

  • £4.2bn direct tax contribution including player taxes
  • 90,000+ jobs supported
  • EY’s study shows £5billion of the League’s economic footprint was located outside of London
  • In the North West, 33,000 jobswere supported, with an economic impact of £3.3billion driven by the Premier League in the region


Economic Impact of Sports - SBI Barcelona


Champions League 2023 Final: Istanbul


The UEFA Champions League 2023 final in Istanbul was projected to bring in $120mn to the Turkish economy with Istanbul projected to receive almost $80mn. According to General Manager of Garanti BBVA Payment Systems,

  • Cardholders shop approximately 3.5 times more at team-affiliated stores compared to regular days
  • Fans stayed an average of three nights in the host cities
  • Spent an average of 855 euros per person on the card.
  • Amount of card spending of tourists in host cities increased by 54% compared to the previous weekend and 41% compared to the following weekend.
  • Accommodation, food, clothing and health sectors are at the top of the sectors where tourists spend the most


Economic Impact of Sports - SBI Barcelona


Socio-economic Impact of professional football industry in Spain


LALIGA presented a report prepared by KPMG on the Socio-economic Impact of Professional Football in Spain. As per the report:

  • Professional football generated 194,381 jobs
  • €8.39 billion in taxes to the public purse
  • A turnover of €18.35bn during the 2021-22 season which equivalent to 1.44% of Spain’s GDP

A further breakdown suggests that the direct impact amounted to more than €8.316bn of which

  • More than 78% (€6.522 bn) was the result of fan spending on products and services associated with professional football
  • An amount of €2.954 billion was spent on online betting and pools
  • €1.129 billion via the internet
  • €827 million on pay-TV
  • €1.613 billion was spent elsewhere (sports press, hospitality, tickets, etc.)
  • The remainder of the direct expenditure (€1.794 billion) was made by companies to boost their marketing and advertising strategies


Economic Impact of Sports - SBI Barcelona




Sports is an integral part of human culture and as with human settlements, comes the economy of the area. Thus, in direct as well as in an indirect manner, sports is integral with the economic turnover of the geographical area it is linked with. The examples we have seen are just some of them. With every country and every sports tournament, the impact is felt. Some more than ever.

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