The social added value of sport and exercise

Realized in The Netherlands

The social added value of sport and exercise

Sports and exercise make people healthier and happier. The social value of sports and exercise is about 2.7 times higher than the investment.

The Challenge

Investment in and the social value of sports and physical activity in the Netherlands have never before been identified and specified in a structured way. This required the application of many data sources and assumptions.

The Approach

Governments, citizens and industry invest in sports in many ways. In part, this investment is aimed at getting people to be more active. This type of investment was relevant to the research, while investments in elite sports were not, because these serve a different policy objective. We collaborated with municipalities and industry experts to determine the scope of the study and formulate substantiated assumptions. Rebel then got started on making calculations, which involved searching for and combining many public data sources.

A complicated aspect was our calculation of social added value, not only for the Netherlands as a whole, but also for the nearly 400 municipalities in our country. Investments and benefits were allocated to each Dutch municipality using several calculation rules. The results were made available on a dashboard in an accessible way for municipalities. The dashboard also allows municipalities to compare themselves to their peer municipalities.


We set a standard for calculating social added value, and raised awareness among policymakers and politicians about the importance of investing in sport and physical activity.