ECONOMY

Sports sector gains ground in economy

The growth of the Greek sports industry is following on the steps of other developed countries and now accounts for 1.7 percent of GDP and 1.1 percent of total employment, a report says. The study, sponsored by gaming and betting company Intralot and released by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) on Monday, notes that «domestic production cannot meet domestic demand for sports products.» While the total value of sports goods produced by 75 firms in 2000 stood at 34.5 million euros, of which 13.8 million worth were exported, total consumption reached 131.6 million euros. In the same year, the total revenue of the country’s approximately 1,300 private gyms, which employed around 8,450 people, was estimated at 164.5 million euros. More than a quarter of the Greek population (2.7 million) take physical exercise, but only 10 percent is estimated to engage in sports with the aim of achieving certain levels of performance and 6 percent are registered as active members of sports clubs. Circulation revenue of national sports papers was 43.4 million euros, while according to market research company AGB, households paid 28.2 million to watch sports programs on subscriber television. Media revenue from the sale of sports-related goods and services and television dues was 83.8 million euros. Sports-related television advertising revenue was 15.4 million euros. In total, net media income from sports-related activities was 96.6 million euros, of which 41.3 million was received by radio and television and 55.3 million euros by printed media. The State plays a prominent role in sports, notably through the General Sports Secretariat (GGA), as a direct consumer of sports products and services. GGA was estimated to have disbursed a total of 289.6 million euros in 2000, of which 64.2 percent came from rights on betting on sports and horse-racing events and the rest from the state budget. State-run betting organization OPAP realised a phenomenal 944-percent increase in revenues in relation to 1989, largely as a result of the introduction of the Stoihima sports betting game, which accounted for 68.9 percent of total revenue. Betting accounts for the greatest part of the 2,229.7 million euros spent in the sports sector, which represents 2.5 of total consumption. Excluding betting, this drops to 670.6 million, or 0.7 percent of the total. Such sums lag behind other spending in sports goods and services, representing 2.8 and 3.3 percent of total consumption respectively in 1990.