Sport has a significant and growing impact on Europe's economy and society. As it is a labour-intensive industry, forecast growth is likely to lead to additional employment – contributing to the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy.
Every EU action on sport statistics is designed to improve the quality and usefulness of data, generate new data, and make it more widely available.
Reliable data and evidence about sport in Europe is needed to help form policies in this sector, also helping to raise the profile and awareness of sport in policy-making.
An EU Working Group on Sport & Economics was set up in 2006, which developed a common methodology to measure the economic impact of sport, called Sport Satellite Accounts (SSAs).
In 2011 an EU Conference on Sport Statistics covered the statistical needs underpinning the development of sport as a new policy area, discussing the SSAs and a possible future sport monitoring function in the EU.
The Commission also launched two studies during 2010-2011, one assessing the sport sector's economic importance in Member States, in particular its growth and employment potential, and the other on the possibility of a future sport monitoring function in the EU.
The EU Expert Group on Sport Statistics, set up by the Council was given the task of recommending ways to promote data collection to measure the economic benefits of the EU sport sector. The group's first findings were reflected in the 2012 Council conclusions on strengthening evidence-based policies.
The Commission intends to carry out a Eurobarometer survey on sport and physical activity in 2014.
Statistical work on physical activity has also been included in the EU's multi-annual statistical programme 2013-2017.