the weight of local authorities still prevails

“Public support efforts for sport are often measured by the state budget, while the contribution of local authorities is higher,” BPCE Groupe reports in a new issue of its economic observatory.(1).

Whether it is school sport, links with a network of local sports associations, support for independent training or even support for high-level sport, municipalities, inter-municipalities, departments and regions are “central players in the funding of French sport.

As for the numbers, Groupe BPCE estimates that their annual contribution will indeed amount to €12.5 billion, compared to €6.7 billion for the State, whose funding is mainly provided by the Ministries of National Education and Higher Education through physical and sports. education and STAPS sector (science and technology of physical and sports activities).

Municipal-intermunicipal block duet

Local authorities, which own 81% of the 318,000 sports facilities, spend more than a third (36%) of this budgetary effort on building or renovating aquatics centres, gymnasiums and other dojos.

Owning only 72% of this equipment, the municipal block occupies a central place, contributing 8 billion euros (ie 64% of the total) annually. So much so that sports represent the second expenditure item after education with a two-point growth trend between the last two terms of office (2014-2019). against 2008-2013).

“The field of activity is very local and focused on local sports,” the authors cite, referring to construction, management and provision of equipment, but also to subsidies for organizing associations and events.

Inter-municipal bodies allocate 3.1 billion euros annually to sports, often intervening “in addition to municipalities for economic efficiency”. “The weight in the financing of sports is higher because of the low population density.”

Action at the level of departments (0.8 billion) and regions (0.6 billion) is “more limited”, mainly “non-municipal” issues (funding of school sports equipment from year 2)no degree, subsidies, support for high-level sports, etc.).

Summoned Summons…

Moreover, “despite the considerable efforts made in recent years to restore old infrastructures”, this extensive work also shows that sports equipment is in a dilapidated state: more than half of the infrastructure fund built before 1985 has never been the subject of work.

In addition, the authors also looked at local authorities’ expenditure on ‘sport’ per resident and per year. Thus, they can range from simple -from 49€ to 86€ per year in departments such as Charente-Maritime or Aude – triple -from 137€ to 167€ per year in Vendée or Indre. And it should be noted that “average sports costs are not necessarily high in large regional cities.”

Finally, if this work consecrates the still dominant role of local authorities, it also confirms the growing power of the commercial private sector, especially the 8% ownership of equipment. “It is concentrated in a few specific sports (bowling, horse riding, fitness and health, golf (…), but since 1995 it has also grown significantly in motor sports, gyms, and specialized fields,” the authors states.

This commercial private sector is actually “the spearhead of the development of spaces dedicated to the practice of the latest disciplines such as futsal, kinball, indoor climbing… Its place has grown significantly in recent years with the demand for flexibility, pluriactivity, goodness. presence and discovery of the urban population”. And let’s conclude: “The private commercial sector has more than doubled its share among the equipment put into use since 2005, making it close to 20%, especially to the detriment of the municipalities that also benefited from its reduction. EPCI, but to a lesser extent. »


Rating 01
Sports sector: challenges of the champion. BPCE Observatory. January 26, 2023. Download the full study (…) or its summary (…). Return to text

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