The COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts it has had on our physical and mental health has brought the need for investment in social connection into even sharper focus and sport and active recreation is an important part of any government’s social reactivation agenda.

Grant applications, business case guidelines and other requests for government funding are making increasing references to social impact, social benefit or social value. But what does this mean?

Until recently, the inability to measure these outcomes in relation to sport and active recreation has meant they are often not given the same level of consideration as economic benefits. If sports projects want to be competitive, improving the robustness of the measurement of these outcomes is vital as sports projects, particularly at a community level, often struggle when compared with projects in sectors such as transport or health on an economic basis alone.

What are the social benefits of sport?

Through our research and engagement with state and Commonwealth governments and the sports sector more broadly, KPMG’s Sports Advisory team have identified the broad social benefits of sport as:

Social benefits of sport

The measurement of social value

The KPMG Sports Advisory team has worked with both Commonwealth and state governments to develop methodologies to ensure these important benefits are part of funding decision making and to change the narrative around sport and sports infrastructure from one of ‘cost’ to one of ‘investment’ using the process for identifying and quantifying the benefits of sport and active recreation outlined below.

Process of measuring the social value

While we will never be able to truly measure and quantify all of the benefits of sport and active recreation, ascribing monetary values to these benefits where possible will help get sport projects on a level playing field with projects from other sectors with more established measurement methodologies. Moreover, there are a range of other positive outcomes of having a better understanding of these benefits and the drivers that underpin them.

Learn more about quantifying the benefits of sport and recreation by reading our full report.