Put your shirt on Olympic winner

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Sportswear companies and bookies could be the biggest winners from the 2012 Olympics, according to Sheffield Hallam University’s Sports Industry Research Centre (SIRC).

The Centre estimates that the sports clothing industry will see its market grow by 15 per cent to £5 billion, while the sports gambling industry will see its market grow by six per cent to £3.2 billion.

It says the Olympics, together with an investment in the health and fitness sector, will be responsible for driving long-term economic growth and that public participation in sports is likely to increase thanks to a rise in community-based investment in fitness clubs.

Despite that, the interest in sports-related publications is likely to fall, with revenues declining by around five per cent between now and 2015, making this sector the biggest loser in Britain’s sporting economy.

The Centre predicts record attendances at Ascot, Wimbledon and the British Grand Prix and says demand for sporting equipment will also rise significantly, benefiting from a boom in bicycle production.

Professor Simon Shibli, co-head of SIRC, said: “The sport industry continues to be resilient, outstripping the economy as a whole during boom times and contracting less during leaner times.”

Chris Gratton, professor of sport economics and co-director of the Centre, added: “Over the last twenty years the sport industry has continued to take a greater and greater share of national economic activity. The hosting of the 2012 Olympics will only accelerate this long term trend.”