Premier League and clubs add 3.4 billion to UK economy

23 November 2015

As football continues to grow, so does its economic impact – last season the Premier League, UK’s top football league and its clubs contributed £3.36 billion to the nation’s GDP. Across the field, the total ecosystem of the League and clubs supports employment of more than 100,000 FTEs and added around £2.4 billion to UK Government coffers through tax receipts.

Founded in 1992, the Premier League is the organisational arm of the UK’s top-flight football competition. The League, which hosts 20 teams, is globally one of the largest in the world in terms of revenue, with only the US Major League Baseball and National Football League (American Football) out ahead.

The Premier League - Statistics

To gain insight in the financial impact of the Premier League, accounting and consulting giant EY annually conducts research into the economic contribution of the Premier League and its clubs. The study, titled ‘The economic impact of the Premier League’, was developed using the firm’s so-called Economic Impact Assessment (EIA) methodology, an approach which it previously applied to the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The EIA was split into two distinct sections: the economic impact of the Premier League as a company; and the economic impact of the clubs competing in the football league. The methodology takes into account the transfer of payments from the Premier League to the football clubs in order to avoid any double counting of revenue streams, and looks at both direct, indirect and induced impacts*.

Match impact
According to the researchers the Premier League, which involves 380 matches across a nine month period, generates direct and indirect revenues from a range of commercial activities, activities that also further enhance and preserve the dominance of the sport. The success of the television rights for clubs has seen the sport broadcast to 185 countries, which results in an audience of an estimated 730 million homes. Since the early ‘90s income from television has increased from £40 million to more than £1.7 billion in the 2013/14 season. Further revenue streams come from ticketing – the sport enjoys a stadium utilisation of over 95%, with average attendance standing at 36,691. Other revenues generated come from merchandise, sponsorship and advertising.

Total contribution to GDP

GDP contribution
The effect of the various revenue streams created by the Premier League and the involved clubs generates considerable direct, indirect and induced value to the UK economy. Together they generate more than £6.2 billion in economic output, of which £3.4 billion contributed to the overall UK GDP in the 2013/14 season.

In comparison, according to Sport England, all sports in the UK generate a direct GVA of around £20.3 billion, with EY’s study into the Premier League and its clubs finding a direct GVA of £2.22 billion, suggesting that £1 of every £10 of value is generated by football’s top-flight competition. Indirect activities generate £620 million, while induced economic activity adds a further £490 million.

The Premier League supports a broad range of employment opportunities

Field count
The Premier League and its clubs also support a considerable workforce through jobs, numbering 103,000 FTEs in the 2013/14 season. The overlarge number of these jobs (95,483) stem from indirect (60,145) impacts, with induced impacts producing nearly 30,000 jobs, while direct impacts account for the remaining employment opportunities. The main reason for the large number of indirect employment comes from the labour intensity of its value chain, such as hospitality, catering and retail.

The Premier League itself employed only 99 people directly in 2013/14, but further supported 5,478 jobs through the value chain (which includes those supported as a result of parachute payments and solidarity contributions) and 2,294 through induced effects.

Total tax contributions

Tax receipts 
On the back of the massive economic impact, the Premier League generates considerable revenue for Government coffers, with the combined contribution of taxes hitting the £2.4 billion mark in the 2013/14 season. Employee PAYE contributions is the largest segment at £941 million, followed by employer National Insurance contributions at £475 million, while employees contribute around £276 million. VAT generates around £390 million, with corporate tax and business rates (on all facilities and stadia) generating £298 million and £25 million respectively.

The Premier League contributed £88 million in taxation in 2013/14, while twenty clubs accounted for the further £2.32 billion.

Football tourist spending
An analysis featured by last week revealed that the
UK economy pockets €940 million, up from €815 million in 2010, from tourists who travel to Britain to attend a football matches in one of its stadiums.

* Direct effect arise from the initial increase in economic activity (e.g., the additional GVA generated, the additional employment created and the taxes that are contributed to public finances), while an indirect effect arises from the additional demand for goods and services along the sector’s supply chain. Induced effects come about as a result of households spending a share of the additional income generated on the consumption of goods and services.


More news on


Project management industry adds £156 billion of value to UK economy

15 April 2019

Project management has grown into one of UK’s largest areas of business over the past decade, amid the increasing ‘projectification’ of work. With the gross value added to the UK economy by project management estimated to be £156 billion, this trend is likely to continue in the coming era.

Despite the huge success of project management in recent years, until now there has been relatively little data available on the size of project activity. As a result, there has been a great deal of debate on things like the number of people involved in the sector, the number of projects, and how it contributes to economic output. Due to this need for clarity, APM, the UK’s professional body for project management (the largest organisation of its kind in Europe, with 28,000 individual members) commissioned economists from PwC to shed light on the industry's economic impact.

The research concluded that the profession makes a more significant contribution to the UK economy than the financial services sector. 2.13 million full-time equivalent workers (FTEs) were employed in the UK project management sector, generating £156.5 billion of annual gross value added (GVA). In comparison, the financial services sector contributes £115 billion, and the construction industry adds £113 billion.

Gross value added to UK economy

Commenting on the discovery, Debbie Dore, Chief Executive of APM said, “Project management runs as a ‘golden thread’ through businesses, helping to develop new services, driving strategic change and sector-wide reform.”

Who is a ‘project manager’?

To reach these estimates, PwC’s researchers used detailed models to map out the value of project management activity. They ultimately defined relevant ‘projects’ as “temporary, non-routine endeavours or rolling programmes of change designed to produce a distinct product, service or end result… [with] a defined beginning and end, a specific scope, a ring-fenced budget, [and] an identified and potentially dedicated team with a project manager in charge.”

Building on this, they then went on to define what the act of project management actually is. The job consists of applying “processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience” so that clients can meet their objectives and bring about planned outputs or outcomes. The analysts added that this includes “initiating the project, planning, executing, controlling, quality assuring and closing the work of an identified and dedicated team according to a specified budget and timeframe.”

Importantly, it should be noted that the profession is not exclusive to only roles explicitly labelled as ‘project manager’, but to any role where specialist project management skills are used. This means that across sectors these roles can have very different titles, from the self-explanatory contract managers of procurement, or the campaign managers of advertising, to the likes of festival co-ordinators in the events sector, and many more. The roles in question also span all strategic levels of the profession, from strategic to tactical and operational positions.

Gross value added of project management profession

From a sector perspective, the financial and professional services, construction and healthcare industries make up almost two-thirds of the total project management GVA. At the same time, understandably, the UK Government has a huge project portfolio, which further drives the size of the GVA the sector contributes, thanks to megaprojects like HS2 and Crossrail.

Commenting on this to the report’s authors, Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation remarked, “Project delivery is at the heart of all Government activity, whether it’s building roads and rail, strengthening our armed forces, modernising IT or transforming the way government provides public services to citizens. Getting these projects right is essential if we are to ensure that we build a country that works for everyone.”

Throughout 2019, 26 major government projects were delivered, representing a fifth of the overall Government Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP) of 133 projects. According to the IPA annual report 2017-18, these represented a whole life cost of £423 billion. In addition to this were a plethora of smaller scale projects, and those in early development.

Elsewhere, with the increasing digitalisation of the economy impacting entities of all shapes and sizes, IT and digital transformations tended to dominate the projects of the UK scene alongside new product development projects, with a respective 55% and 46% of organisations in the research sample having undertaken these types of project in the past year. At the same time, this varied across sectors, and unsurprisingly, in the construction and local government sectors, fixed capital projects were the main project type undertaken.


Looking to the future, 40% of business leaders expect project management will grow in the coming years due to the increased use of projects – or the ‘projectification’ of the UK. In a trend that has been witnessed elsewhere, organisations have to rapidly and continuously change in the digital age of business, driving the need for project management.

Outlook for project management services

An increased focus on value over cost – especially in the construction sector – and a forecast increase in the number of international projects are predicted to be key drivers of growth, according to the expert contributors. However, this will not happen in the absence of challenges; more than half of organisations expressed concern over the perceived impact of political uncertainty in the UK. Skills and capability shortages were also cited as a potential barrier by a third of organisations.

With regard to budgets, meanwhile, a third of those surveyed by PwC said they expect the size of project budgets will increase in the coming three years, while 40% anticipate a growth in project size. As the profession continues to mature, and as the recognition of the importance of good project management grows, it is expected that a greater proportion of project work will gain more distinct attribution to the profession itself, giving more recognition and appreciation to the role of the project manager.

Speaking on the findings of the study, Sandie Grimshaw, a Partner at PwC, concluded, “The project management profession is relatively new compared to some other professions, such as lawyers, teachers and doctors. However, as project management is a core competence vital to organisations in the UK, the profession is critical and will continue to grow in stature.”