This study measures the share of the sports sector in the regional economy of Flanders by means of expenditure related to active sports participation and spectator sport. In contrast with the more common cost-benefit approach, the perspective of this study is rather macroeconomic. A representative sample of 512 households was interviewed by means of a standardized questionnaire. Data on government expenditure were gathered from an analysis of budgets and bills. Private investments and the balance of trade statistics were estimated. All these expenditures, $4.3 billion U.S., constitute the Gross Regional Sport Product for Flanders. During the past 15 years, household expenditure in sport has increased, while government expenditure has stagnated. However, government intervention remains necessary for setting up the legal context, financing the construction and maintenance of a rich variety of sports facilities, and for lowering the price threshold for low-income families. This study has shown the importance of the sports sector for the Flemish economy, mainly through household expenditure.
Marijke Taks is with the Department of Sports and Human Movement Sciences at the Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, KULeuven, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium. Stefan Késenne is with the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Antwerp/UFSIA, B-2000 Antwerpen, Belgium, and the Department of Sports and Human Movement Sciences at the Faculty of PE and Physiotherapy, KU Leuven, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium.