Every euro invested in sports promotion produces around two and a half euros in economic and social return. In fact, the Sroi index – that is, the social return on investments – of what is promoted and invested by sports promotion bodies in Italy is worth 2.42.
This was revealed in recent months by the research project Gather – Evaluate the social impact of grassroots sportpromoted by sports promotion bodies Aics (who coordinates the grouping), I was taken, Chen e Freedomconducted with the technical collaboration of theUniversity of Milan Bicocca and the financing of Sports and Health Spa.
The research made it possible to investigate the social impact of grassroots sport by identifying the changes produced on people and communities, both in relation to the indicators of fair welfare (Bes), and in relation to the objectives for sustainable development (SDG) identified from the 2030 Agenda. Not only that: it managed to translate the benefits produced into euros, using as a reference some indicators of value in monetary terms, such as the cost of a medical visit or a training course on social skills, or the average cost of psychotherapy. All of this was conducted through a survey administered in recent months to 6,300 people including men and women who play sports, families of adolescent boys and girls, coaches and athletic trainers.
«For us sports promotion bodies, self-assessment is very important: it allows us to certify the contribution that, as bodies, we give to the country’s public policies, it directs our work so that we can respond effectively to emerging needs, it gives account to the public authorities of our ability”, underlines the president of Aics, Bruno Molea. «This is the fourth research in six years that the Italian Culture and Sport Association has dedicated to the social impact of grassroots sport. For the first time it emerges strongly that grassroots sport structured and promoted by sports promotion bodies represents an economically measurable social value: it is impossible not to take this into account».
The impact generated was measured by exploiting the digital platform of Open Impact and using the Sroi methodology, which precisely provides for obtaining an index given by the ratio between the total net impact and the total investment. The Sroi index identified by the evaluation process is therefore equal to 2.42, detailing itself in the generation of social value equal to two million 316 thousand 237.82 euros against an estimated investment on the cost incurred by the entities for the project period equal to 957,041 euros. But what are the benefits produced? Of those two million and 316 thousand euros produced, around 400 thousand euros are worth an increase in awareness of gender equality (value calculated on the basis of the answers obtained from the interviewed sample and the average cost of an education course on gender difference which would have been worth the same improvement in awareness); about 130 thousand euros are worth the improvement in health and the adoption of a healthy lifestyle (calculated on the basis of the average cost of a doctor’s visit and the amount spent in the same period on a healthy diet); around one million and 300 thousand euros for the improvement of the so-called soft skillssoft skills (based on average cost for psychotherapy and for a social skills course); over 350 thousand euros are worth an increase in awareness of the needs of people with disabilities and categories at risk of marginalisation (value expressed as the cost of an interpersonal skills training course); In the end, around 125 thousand euros are worth the increase in intercultural exchange (calculated on the basis of the cost of an intercultural education course). In short, for those who play sports with sports promotion bodies, the skills gained and the improvement of their lives in terms of health and social relations are free.
The positive changes produced in people obviously also generate impacts on the community and, referring to Agenda 2030, the sustainable development objectives to which grassroots sport contributes are certainly those of health and well-being, gender equality, reduction of inequalities and construction of sustainable cities. Life improvements that people who play sports are well aware of. The research shows that seven out of 10 coaches know integrated sport techniques, that for 66% of them grassroots sport offers equal training possibilities for able-bodied people and for people with disabilities, and that for 83% of them sport enhances the learning of educational values. So, not only basic sport as an instrument of physical well-being but also above all as a lever of sociality: 85% of male and female athletes participate in recreational events connected to sporting activities, 82% declare the absence of discriminatory language, more than 8 out of 10 declare an improvement in mental well-being, 84% of the families interviewed claims to spend more quality time with their children thanks to sport, and 66% – again thanks to sport – has participated in initiatives that benefit their neighborhood of residence.