Europe’s FTA sports broadcasting delivers €4.9bn to economy


(Source: EBU / Credit: Getty Images)

Free-to-air sports broadcasting contributed to EUR €4.9 billion to Europe’s economic production in 2022, according to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

The EBU commissioned a new independent report from Oxford Economics to evaluate the impact of 188,000 hours of FTA sports programming across radio and television, from its 44 EBU Members in 31 countries, including high-profile, high-value events such as the FIFA World Cup Finals and the World Athletics Championships.

The Economic Impact of the Sports Activities of Public Service Media report also included the online engagement of millions of sports fans via websites, apps and social media.

The study revealed direct impact saw public service media production and broadcasting of sports content contributed approximately EUR €900 million to the Europe’s GDP and provided over 5,000 workers. Each worker generated an estimated economic value of EUR 166,000, significantly above the regional average, reports the EBU.

Indirect impact included the spending on goods and services, such as cameras, media rights and editing services. According to the EBU, this accumulated an additional EUR €2.7 billion and supported over 38,000 jobs across the region. Notably, spending on sports rights played a key role in driving this impact, says the group.

Meanwhile,  induced impact is the economic activity generated by the wages paid to EBU Member employees and those in their supply chain. This led to a further EUR 1.4 billion contribution and supported an additional 16,420 jobs, EBU reveals.

“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.”

Glen Killane, executive director, 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.”

He added: “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.”

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