University of Jyväskylä

Sport goods sales form the core of the sport business in Europe

Vehmas (left) and LaineThe private sport sector is becoming more and more important in Europe, although the state, municipalities and voluntary non-profit sport organizations are still the main producers of sport services.  The profit-making sport sector is evident especially in sales of sport goods, which make the core of the sport business in Europe. However, this field appears to be rather vulnerable to economic fluctuations.

As a niche market, fitness facilities is perceived as a significant sport business field that has showed a strong growth during the 2000s. Fitness facility activities have not been affected by the economic fluctuations as badly as some other fields of sport business.

Currently many top-level sport clubs operate as profit-making limited corporations and such business activities represent a significant part of the European private sport sector, especially in the most populated countries. One of the major concerns in operating sport clubs as business entities nowadays is their poor profitability.

This, among other information, came out in The Private Sport Sector in Europe – A Cross-National Comparative Perspective (Springer 2017) edited by Antti Laine and Hanna Vehmas (University of Jyväskylä, Finland). Based on statistics and country-specific cases, the book reveals updated information about the private sport sector in 18 European countries. In total, the share of sport-related businesses is relatively small in Europe (EVA 1.8% and employment 2.1%), but the expectations for the industry are high. What is crucial for the prospects of the industry is how the purchasing power of consumers develops, and what kind of life style choices people make in the future.

More information about the publication:


Antti Laine, tel. +358 40 805 3958,
Hanna Vehmas, tel +358 40 805 3977,
Communications Manager Liisa Harjula, tel. +358 40 805 4403,

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