Sport has a significant and growing impact on Europe’s economy and society. Recent figures show that the contribution of sport to EU GDP is significant – over two percent of EU total employment. Sport is a field in which the EU’s responsibilities are relatively new, and there is now a specific budget line under the Erasmus+ programme to support projects and networks in the area of sport.
The way sport it is represented, particularly via media outlets, is of great social and economic significance. In social terms, sport can impact a range of issues: from attitudes toward sports fans and professionals to complex phenomena such as nationalism, gender equality, doping, match-fixing, racism and violence.
As attending or watching sporting events generates considerable income for Member States, the relationship between sport and the media is also of great economic significance. The selling of media rights and merchandising are the main sources of revenue for professional sport in Europe.
The EU works to attain greater fairness and openness in sporting competitions and greater protection of the moral and physical integrity of sportspeople whilst taking account of the specific nature of sport. In particular, the EU is concerned with three aspects: (1) the societal role of sport; (2) its economic dimension; and (3) the political and legal framework of the sports sector.