Sport in Society

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The sports industry is very important in today’s society, not only does it provide leisure activities, but it is also one of the largest providers of jobs, from athletes to managers to physiotherapists. In this task one is going to explain the current scale and economic importance of the sports industry, referring to rugby and football, two quite different, popular sports.


In sport, there are a lot of different types of jobs available; not only team members, the jobs range from managers to sports retailers. One estimate of the total workforce was made by Sportdata and they propose, “Employment in sport was 437,460 in 1998, compared to 425,056 in 1995.” Since then, the number of people employed in the sports industry has greatly increased, and is still growing. The number of people involved in the sports and fitness industry, is expected to increase to 347,000 by 2008, which will be a 36% increase over just 10 years, however these figures do not take into consideration those that help out voluntarily.

Football is the one of the most popular sports worldwide; there are nearly 50,000 clubs with 3 million participants. It’s not only those who are closely connected to sport that get money out of it, sports retail sectors make a lot of money making the kits for the players.

There are 430 rugby league clubs with 42,000 players altogether and the numbers are increasing. There are many different types of jobs in rugby, from managing to secretarial work.


There are many different ways we can participate in a form of exercise or sports. There are those involved in sports clubs, health and fitness activities, outdoor activities, casual sport with friends or even a social swim. We cannot find an exact figure as to how many people do participate regularly in sport but we can get a close estimate, roughly 82% of people aged 15 or over participated in some form of sport in 2005, however this was over the 12 months, and may not have been regularly.

Football recognises the sense of ownership felt by those who participate at all levels of the game. This includes those who play, those who coach or help in any way, and those who officiate, as well as administrators and supporters.

In Australia there were a total of 539,526 registered participants playing football, which does not include the number of children who played over the year. There are currently 10 million people playing football in the Liverpool FA and the funding from Sport England will help to attract new participants to the game as well as encouraging more people aged 21 and over to stay involved in the sport.

The Rugby league is one of the most popular sports played in England. In 2004 the Rugby Football League reported 62,463 registered players and this was in the UK alone.

These numbers of participation in rugby and football are rough estimates, not exact numbers. There are a lot of different professional leagues in football, each with various different age groups, the same with rugby. However the numbers here, do no take into consideration the number of those playing for school clubs or small clubs set up near their homes.

The economic importance of the sports industry is very high; a lot of people play sports not only for fun, but to keep fit, also as their job. Without it, a lot of people would lose their jobs and would be hard for the millions of people involved all to find another job

Financial Turnover

Sport is very important to many people, even if they are not closely linked with sport itself; they still make money out of it, like massage therapists and retail sectors. In 1998alone, £1800million was spent on sports clothes in the UK, a further £35 million being spent on football boots.

The amount of money in a country determines the strength of the currency and the income and expenditure of its residence. The 1990s saw steady growth again, largely in the private sector. However the government are running into greater difficulty in maintaining the sports centres for the population, spending power is now becoming a key factor in the ability to purchase leisure items.

In football, a lot of companies benefit from sports in a variety of ways for example, countries hosting the world cup. Not only the countries benefit, but the airlines, transport companies, hotels and bars do too. People spend a fortune flying to these countries, then they all need a place to stay, and transport for when they get there.

It’s the same with Rugby, for any important matches like the Six Nations Rugby tournament, hotels will be booked out and bars will have a lot of money coming in. Key Note estimates that the market for the major UK rugby clubs in both rugby union and rugby league was worth £51.1m in 1998. This represents growth of 19.4% since 1996, driven by the increasing commercialism of the top rugby union clubs in England, which compete in the Allied Dunbar Premiership. The total industry market increased to £64.4m by 2003, a rise of 24.6% on the 1999 value of £51.6m.

Development and organisation

Sports organisations need to fund themselves, they will have access to different sources of funding according to their size and what sector they are in, which could be grants, subsidies, sponsorship, charges for activities, and spectating, merchandising, the national lottery, membership and broadcasting fees.

Currently, a lot of sports charge for their activities to raise the money needed to keep their organisation up and running. They can members for playing or being instructed, however they need to be careful as the amount they charge and the importance of this as an income will determine how popular their sport may turn out, public and private sector

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