A new ESRI survey has found that sport contributes 1.4 billion euros to the Irish economy as well as contributing to social bonding, community involvement and the overall effective functioning of society.
The ESRI singled out the GAA for particular praise, saying its culture of volunteering made it one of “great generators of social capital in Ireland”.According to the report, 400,000 people in the Irish Republic (15% of population) volunteer for sport while 20% play sport on a regular basis.
The GAA accounts for 40% of all volunteers followed by soccer on 17%.
The economic value of these volunteers is put at 267 million euros annually while sport club subscriptions are estimated at 200 million.
Revenue generated by attendances is 525 million while the cost of playing sport is put at 413 million.
This gives a combined economic value of sport of 1.4 billion euros.
GAA sports accounted for 57% of all attendances at sporting events in Ireland with 34% going to football and 23% to hurling.
Next came soccer on 16%, followed by rugby on 8% and golf on 3%.
People attending sport outside of Ireland tend to go to soccer (57%) and rugby (14%) matches. Next up is motor racing at 6% and, interestingly, baseball at 2%.