Business Eye: Sport is vital for the economy

Alex Pratt
Alex Pratt

If ever there was a time where a clear and unequivocally powerful link between sport and the economy didn’t exist, it has long since disappeared into a bygone era of sepia tones and steam trains.

Last week saw a flurry of reports showing those schools with a strong sporting ethic of which we have many here in Bucks, produce better academic and pastoral results, meaning students go on to do better, be better and live longer than others.

What’s more, the link to the growing societal nemesis of obesity to which I have to admit to now being a contributor with its impact on diabetes and health in general is the biggest single threat to the NHS. More sport and exercise is the identified low cost simple obvious cure.

In point of fact sport these days is very possibly the most significant industry on the planet causing seismic shifts in investment, marketing, people and politics.

This year alone, we’ve already had the Putin pre-Ukraine annexation Winter Olympics and Paralympics, and the seemingly corrupt multi £Billion controversy over the FIFA decision to run the 2022 World Cup in the Arabian Desert.

The fact that “the lads” have already booked their flights home Brazil will I am sure mean takings in pubs will be down, and who could deny the impact footballers have on markets for large homes, flash cars, WAG fashions, plus newspaper and magazine sales?

You only need look at the tip of the sporting iceberg heading our way in the weeks ahead to get a sense of the colossal economic impact. We will shortly see the start of the Tour de France in Leeds (go figure), the tennis at Wimbledon, The Open Golf in Liverpool, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Test matches at Lords, Trent Bridge et al, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and soon after the Rugby at Twickenham, Murrayfield and Cardiff.

Think of the jobs, the burgers and bars, the TV rights, the corporate hospitality, the ticket sales, the stewards, the sports gear, the sun lotion and the travel booked.

Closer to home, the simple fact that my lad attended pre-season cricket nets at Mandeville School took me into the local ASDA every Saturday for two months unleashing an average spend of £80 a time. One lads cricket net; one family; £600 spend. Sports sponsorship can pay big dividends.

Think sport.

It matters much more than we notice.