SPORT has been forecast to contribute up to £1billion a year to the regional economy, including Milton Keynes.
The report, Why Sport Matters, by Nortoft, says sport and physical activity provides direct economic benefits to the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) area.
Launching the report, Dr Ann Limb, who chairs SEMLEP, said: “Investment in sports infrastructure has been successfully used to aid regeneration and growth and major sports events bring with them high profile promotional opportunities for the area.
“Some major events directly link to other parts of the economy, for example motorsports with the Silverstone Grand Prix and the high performance engineering industry”.
Hannah Bladen from Sport England said: “This report builds on the solid foundations of MK’s leading work on the International Sporting City concept – but now takes it SEMLEP-wide, putting sport at the heart of all that is good in SEMLEP.”
David O’Neil MD of report author Nortoft, said sector in the region is currently worth about £683m of consumer spend, and provides over 18,000 jobs.
He added: “There are clear and achievable opportunities, even using the most conservative estimates, for an increase by 2026 of at least 3,000 jobs, a growth in consumer spend of over £116m, and an increase in gross economic value (GVA) of at least £114m.
He added there are ‘very serious’ negative economic impacts of people who are not active enough to maintain their own health. He said this costs the health service £25.3million a year and more than :£283m in lost productivity.”