What is the socioeconomic value of sports and exercise?

Overall, the social value of sports and physical activity can reach about 35,000-75,000 Euros for young people up to 25 years old and people between 25 and 55 years old. The value for people over 55 is about 12,500-25,000 Euros.

Policy makers and practitioners need evidence of the effects of sport and exercise. Commissioned by Kenniscentrum Sport, Ecorys conducted research on the socioeconomic value of sports and physical activity.

Research approach
During the research the issue was defined as clearly as possible. The found effects of sports and exercise are divided into three main groups: health, social and labor. The focus of the research is on:

  • The social effects and value of sports and exercise.
  • The ‘average Dutch person’, so no top athletes or specific target group. A distinction is made between different age categories.
  • The effects mapped in this research concern both direct (financial) and external (social) costs and benefits.

Distribution of socioeconomic value. 
The impact of sports and physical activity can be assigned to one or more stakeholders for the effects. In our research we distinguish between individual, health insurer, municipality, employer and society and (national) government.

Our research shows that the individual benefits from many of the effects. The employer obviously benefits from less absenteeism and higher labor productivity, and the (central) government also benefits from higher labor productivity through income taxes. Health insurance companies, on the other hand, benefit from decreased health care costs, but may also face additional health care costs due to increased life expectancy.

The benefits for the municipality lie mainly in social effects, reduced crime and increased social capital. Finally, society as a whole benefits from reduced crime, increased social capital and increased educational achievement/school dropout rates. It is possible that the government and pension insurers do run into higher state pension and retirement costs as a result of increased life expectancy.

Want to know more? Read the research report (in Dutch) for more information.

Do you have a question or want more information about our approach? Please contact Niels Peters.

17 May 2021

2 minute read

Key Experts

Niels Peters