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Football industry generates over €2 billion annually in Catalonia, study finds

The sporting sector accounts for 1.21% of the country’s GDP, and employs 32,471 people


12 July 2019 05:01 PM


ACN | Barcelona

The professional football industry generates €2,641 million annually in Catalonia, equivalent to 1.21% of the Catalan GDP, and employs 32,471 people

The figures come from an independent study carried out by the consultant group PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on the socioeconomic impact of the professional football industry all across Spain, and takes into account the latest available figures data, coming from the 2016/17 season. The large-scale study replaces that made on data from the 2012/13 season. 

These figures confirm the social and economic impact that football has,” Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga, reflected. “[The figures] reinforce our message about the importance of taking responsible and well-considered decisions about everything that affects this industry that is so relevant to our society," he said.

“Sport in general and professional football in particular is an important strategic sector for the reputation of Catalonia and Spain abroad”, a La Liga statement on the economics of the inustry explains. “Beyond the economic and social impact, sport shares the values of our modern and democratic society.”

Contribution to employment

Across Spain in total, the industry provided 185,000 jobs in the 2016/17 season. For every position created directly from La Liga and football, the industry created four more jobs adjacent to the industry, equivalent to 0.98% of all employment in Spain.

These 185,000 jobs generated represents a huge volume of employment in relation to other sectors of the Spanish economy. For example, if we compare it with the employment generated in the textile, clothing and leather industry, it is amounts to 1.2 times the amount of people employed in 2016. Compared with the manufacturing of iron, steel, and alloy products, football creates 2.4 times the amount of employment. 

La Liga also generated almost €4,000 million revenue in other sectors such as catering, accommodation, bars and national tourism. Among the other areas of the economy that the football industry impacts, hotel, transport and accommodation stick out, reaching €2,398 million during the 2016/17 season.

In addition to the impact generated by those attending matches in stadiums, the viewing of La Liga matches helped Spanish bars bring in around €1,226 million, thus generating 19,415 jobs. Football fans also enjoy the games through paid TV subscriptions: 58% of the 6.6 million subscribers have soccer content included in their package, and 41% of those said they wouldn’t sign up to the contract if it didn’t include football.

Social impact

In order to know the influence that La Liga has on society, a survey was carried with more than 800 participants. 79% of respondents agree that professional football has a positive influence on social relationships, and almost 70% positively assess the influence on family relationships. 

According to the study, professional football promotes values ​​in society such as responsibility, evolution, integrity, companionship, respect, and sportsmanship.


  • A La Liga football ahead of kickoff. (Photo: Reuters)

  • A La Liga football ahead of kickoff. (Photo: Reuters)