Study Highlights Value of Sports on European PSBs

Sports coverage on European public broadcasters contributed €4.9 billion ($5.2 billion) to the region’s GDP in 2022 and supported more than 60,000 jobs, a new report commissioned by the EBU from Oxford Economics has found.

The study, The Economic Impact of the Sports Activities of Public Service Media, charts the impact of 134,000 hours of free-to-air sports on TV and 54,000 hours on radio from 44 EBU members in 31 countries. The coverage included high-profile events such as the FIFA World Cup Finals and the World Athletics Championships.

“Our analysis unveils a symbiotic relationship between free-to-air sports broadcasting and economic vitality, illustrating the far-reaching ripple effects of this dynamic industry right across the continent,” said Doug Godden, lead economist at Oxford Economics and author of the report. “What’s more, providing sporting action to audiences for free has great value to the public of the countries in which EBU members operate.”

The production and broadcast of sports content on EBU pubcasters contributed €900 million ($963.2 million) to the GDP and employed over 5,000 workers. Further, EBU members’ spending on goods and services, including cameras, media rights, catering and editing services, stimulated an additional €2.7 billion ($2.9 billion) in GDP and supported over 38,000 jobs. There was a further €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion) contribution to GDP and an additional 16,420 jobs from the economic activity generated by the wages paid to EBU member employees and those in their supply chains.

The EBU study also points to broader economic advantages for sports leagues via opportunities for sponsorship, advertising revenue and event hosting fees. “FTA media exposure can also help grow and expand the fan base of ‘emerging’ sports, leading to increased gate receipts and merchandising,” the report notes.

Glen Killane, executive director at Eurovision Sport, said: “This report underscores how central public service media is to the sports ecosystem in Europe. With a combined potential audience of 1 billion people, our members ensure that sport has the best shop window in the world to inspire and encourage the athletes of the future. Supporting sports federations at national and international level is just one of the effects of the investment our members provide. As non-profit organizations our investment goes straight to where it matters most, providing an immense multiplier effect. It’s not just about what happens on the field: it’s the countless opportunities it unlocks off the field, driving substantial economic growth—worth billions in real terms—and delivering profound benefits for individual mental and physical health. This would not be possible without the support, investment and dedication of our members.”