How much is sport worth in Italy. The Banca Ifis observatory

35 million fans, including 15.5 million regular practitioners, revenues of 95.9 billion euros in 2019, with an impact on Italian GDP of 3.6%, and jobs for around 389,000 people.

The sports system is a sector of primary importance for the Italian economy and society according to what emerges from the first Observatory of the sports system created by the research office Banca Ifis and illustrated yesterday at the headquarters of Coni in the presence of Giovanni Malagopresident of Coni, and of Ernesto Furstenberg FassioVice-Chairman of Banca Ifis.

The observatory was created in response to the European Commission’s request to Member States to measure the economic dimension of all components of sport and to provide public and private decision-makers with fundamental data and information for strategic decision-making.

How much is sport worth in Italy

In 2019, considered an average reference year, the Italian sports system generated revenues of 95.9 billion, with an impact on the national GDP of 3.6%. The main component of the sector is represented by “grassroots” operators, ie amateur and professional sports associations and clubs, sports promotion bodies, federations and factory management companies. This is a total of more than 74,000 realities that in 2019 employed 228,000 people, generating revenues of 46.4 billion (48% of the entire sports system, 1.65% of Italian GDP ). Equally significant is the contribution to the Sports System of operators who move “downstream” in the supply chain, or of companies in the media sector with regard to the revenues generated by content dedicated to sports, the sports betting sector , services related to the use of sporting events (transport, hospitality, catering, shopping). In the reference year, the value of this sector was 22.6 billion (23% of the Italian sports system, 0.89% of the national GDP). The survey conducted by the Banca Ifis Sports System Observatory also includes companies that operate “upstream” in the supply chain. This sector includes manufacturers of sports apparel, equipment and vehicles. Around 10,000 companies and 161,000 employees generated a turnover of 17.3 billion in 2019 (18% of the income of the Italian sports system, 0.47% of GDP).


Finally, the fourth component of the sports system mapped by the Observatory is represented by the indirect value generated by sport for the Italian economy and society. In 2019, Italian sport produced positive externalities for nearly 10.1 billion. Of these, about 5.3 billion represent savings for the national health system in the treatment of certain diseases (infarction and coronary artery disease, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes, etc.). Overall, externalities represent 11% of the value generated by the sports system with an impact on Italian GDP of 0.56%. The extraordinary period that the sport has experienced during the 2020-2021 biennium forces us to assess the historical trend in a different way to take into account the constraints and restrictions that the pandemic has imposed. For this reason, this edition of the Observatory presents the data divided into two periods: 2019 considered as the average reference year and 2020 and 2021 to measure the impact of the crisis period and the recovery.

The impact of covid

In 2020, measures to contain the pandemic led to lower incomes and employment. The sector most affected in absolute value was that of sports associations and clubs, which saw their turnover drop from 40.2 billion in 2019 to 32.5 billion in 2020, with a drop of 7.7 billion ( -19%). This drop also had a significant impact on the number of employees, which fell by 30,000 units (from 189,000 in 2019 to 159,000 in 2020). There has been a significant drop in spending on sporting events, suspended in March 2020 and restarted, but only behind closed doors, the following June. The induced generated by sporting events amounted to around 2 billion against 7.6 billion in 2019, burning 5.6 billion euros (-74%). The sports plants sector was also affected, whose turnover fell from 6.2 billion in 2019 to 2.3 billion in 2020, with a drop in absolute value of 3.9 billion (-63%). The long suspension of sports activities, especially of an amateur and amateur nature, also had an impact on externalities, which fell from 10.1 to 2.0 billion.

Signs of recovery in 2021

In 2021, thanks to the return of the public to sporting events, the resumption of amateur and amateur activity and the gradual reopening of swimming pools, gymnasiums and sports centers, there was a partial recovery in revenue to 78.8 billion ( 3% of GDP). But public and private investment will be essential to return to pre-pandemic levels and support the development of the entire sector. According to the Observatory, over the average reference year there is a multiplier effect: 1 million public investments activate nearly 9 million private resources which generate an annual turnover of 20 million, 2.3 times more higher than private investment. Public investments have a particularly high driving force because sport adds to production and consumption specific elements related to well-being, entertainment and health, capable of amplifying the economic value it generates. However, it is not possible to disregard the combination of public expenditure with the private resources deployed by sports clubs and the management of sports facilities. Indeed, in the average reference year, against public expenditure of 4.7 billion, the 3 main operators of the Sports System (sports associations and clubs, federations, sports promotion bodies, development companies) transferred resources of 41 .8 billion in expenditure for raw materials. materials, services, personnel and amortization of tangible and intangible assets, helping to generate a total value of 95.9 billion.

Italians and sport

About 35 million Italians follow and are interested in at least one sport, and 15.5 million Italians who practice it regularly. Football is the most popular sport in Italy (34% among those over 18) and also the one with the greatest number of public contributions. But other sports also have a large broadcast, even if they receive less financial support. Swimming, for example, is the second discipline practiced with a penetration of 29%, only 5 points from the first position, while collecting less than a third of the public contributions received from football. The success of different sports is also linked to non-economic variables related to the effectiveness of the initiatives of individual federations and the “ripple” effect of the national and international successes of our champions. This is clearly demonstrated by the analysis of the evolution of the fanbase of Italian athletes during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The involvement of people in individual sports is strongly linked to the sporting successes and the communicative power of individual athletes, such as as Federica Pellegrini and Marcell Jacobs. .

The satisfaction of Banca Ifis and Coni

“Sport is an important vector of well-being and growth for society and organisations. The desire of Banca Ifis to create the first Italian Observatory of the sports system, which measures the economic and social impact of sport in our country, stems from this premise – commented Ernesto Furstenberg Fassio -. An initiative that is one of many projects recently launched by the Bank, such as sports sponsorships and activities to support the youth sectors, with the aim of contributing to the development of one of the main economic and value sectors of Italy ” .

“I am grateful to Banca Ifis who invests in sport believing in the importance it has on a social level. I know Ernesto Fürstenberg Fassio well and I appreciate his particular sensitivity towards our movement, testified by young and old gestures made in recent years – he said Giovanni Malago -. The fundamental support for the Alpine Skiing World Championships held in Cortina and the resources given by Coni to reward the junior world medalists of the Olympic disciplines represent a tangible example of the commitment of this great reality to us. The data provided by the qualified and passionate work of the Sports System Observatory will be an important tool to read the strength and the extraordinary potential of the system. I can only reiterate my sincere thanks to Ernesto and Banca Ifis”.

Add Comment