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Newly-published research by the University of Strathclyde's Fraser of Allander Institute has revealed that the SPFL contributes more than £200m net to the Scottish economy every year and supports 5,700 jobs.

The research project, which was launched last year, was commissioned by the SPFL to examine the contribution of the league to the Scottish economy.

The independent analysis was carried out on the 2017/18 season and shows that SPFL clubs' activities, plus all spending by spectators at SPFL matches, contributed a gross figure of £444m to Scotland's GDP and helped to support around 9,300 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs.

Adjusting for the impact of spending which is not added to the Scottish economy, the net contribution was £214m, helping to support around 5,700 FTE jobs.

The research examined the contribution of the SPFL to the Scottish economy through two channels - the economic footprint of the SPFL clubs themselves and the economic boost from fans attending matches in the SPFL's League and Cup competitions.

The Fraser of Allander Institute examined information on clubs' economic activities including their revenues and day-to-day spending. Data were taken from club accounts and detailed research on a select number of SPFL clubs across all four divisions.

The Institute also undertook a fan survey to capture detailed information on spending at football matches in Scotland, specifically the sums spent outwith stadia, which would not be captured in club accounts.

The Fraser of Allander Institute then used a detailed economic model to capture the direct impact of club and spectator activities and the wider spill-over effects on the Scottish economy.

The analysis showed that:

  • In the course of the 2017/18 season, the turnover of SPFL clubs was £223m and they directly employed around 2,770 people.
  • In the 2017/18 season, there were 4,871,000 attendances at SPFL league and cup matches, with the majority of these in the Premiership.
  • There was a net contribution to Scottish GDP of £214m, helping to support 5,750 jobs

Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, said: "As well as playing an extremely important role in the social and cultural life of Scotland, this new research underlines the very significant economic contribution which SPFL clubs and their hundreds of thousands of fans make to the Scottish economy.

“The Fraser of Allander Institute is a world-renowned, and highly-respected, institution.

"At a time when vital decisions will be made by the Government about when we can resume matches, we're sure these findings will make an important contribution to the decision-making process.

"Aside from the crucial importance of the game to the mental wellbeing and sense of community in Scotland, the Fraser of Allander study demonstrates the vital economic importance to the country of matches resuming as soon as it is safe to do so."

Professor Graeme Roy, director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, said: "We were delighted to be asked by the SPFL to assess the contribution of Scottish football's professional leagues to the Scottish economy.

"Based upon information provided to us by the clubs regarding their income patterns, together with the findings of a survey of fans across Scotland, we found that during the 2017-18 season, the activities of SPFL matches and SPFL clubs contributed £214 million to Gross Domestic Product in Scotland, and supported 5,700 jobs. These figures are on a 'net' basis and are adjusted for the impact of spending which is not added to the Scottish economy."

Kate Buckle
Article by Kate Buckle
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