Murrayfield Wanderers SROI

Social Return on Investment

In May 2024, Scottish Rugby released a Social Return on Investment report investigating the economic benefits of participating and volunteering in rugby delivers for Scotland.

The report found that grassroots rugby in Scotland delivers an economic benefit of at least £159.16m per year, representing a return on investment ratio of 7.71. The report does not include contributions of professional players or assets owned by Scottish Rugby, such as Scottish Gas Murrayfield. 

The headline number of £159.16m per year is broken up into three key pillars – Social (£41.2m), Economic (£13.46m) and Health and wellbeing (£103.31m). It is an ‘at least’ value, and is conservative in nature. 

Most significant of these contributions were the equivalent value of volunteering effort – valued at £31 million – and subjective wellbeing benefits – valued at £92 million, which aligns with findings from other sport-related SROI studies. 

Data was drawn from a wide range of sources including over 1,600 players, parents, volunteers and match officials, alongside more than 60 per cent of member clubs around the country. 

Of the significant social and wellbeing benefits revealed by the report, it found that participation in rugby had a positive and quantifiable impact on reducing depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, and improved overall subjective wellbeing.

Rugby was also found to improve school attendance and educational performance, reduce instances of juvenile crime, drive volunteering, and reduce instances of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. 

The report also highlighted that for non-professional rugby players in Scotland, their participation in the sport returned more than £3,000 per player across an estimated 50,000 club rugby players in Scotland between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024. 

Between the 155 member clubs surveyed and Scottish Rugby, annual expenditure on club rugby was £24.4m in 2022/23. Some of that investment went into facilities, and use of 416 rugby pitches across Scotland delivered a gross value add (GVA) of £7.5m. 

Keith Wallace, Vice President of Scottish Rugby and Chair of its Club Rugby Board, said: “Our Social Impact and Valuation Report is a real game changer.  For the first time it provides hard evidence of what we all strongly believed. Firstly, that our thousands of volunteers deliver huge value; and secondly, that participation in club rugby delivers benefits for players, clubs, communities and the Scottish economy. 

“£31m of value from our volunteers recognises the crucial role they all play in the ongoing success of the community game. An 8:1 return on investment in grassroots rugby is a remarkable achievement. Scottish Rugby is proud to support and partner with clubs to grow participation. This brings a great opportunity to draw in new investment, with increasing focus in many organisations on ESG (Environment, Social and Governance), which in turn will increase the positive impacts for all areas of our society and economy.” 

Sports Minister Maree Todd said: “I am a great believer in the power of sport and this report demonstrates the social, economic and health and wellbeing benefits of grassroots sports such as rugby.

“Sport and physical activity helps to improve a person’s physical and mental health and brings communities together. Grassroots sport would not be the power it is if it wasn’t for the army of volunteers across the country who give up their precious time to benefit others.

“I would like to thank all involved in this report and everyone who contributes to grassroots rugby in Scotland. I look forward to working with Scottish Rugby to see how we can continue supporting the growth of the sport at grassroots level.”

Chief Executive Officer for Substance, the company which created the report, Tim Crabbe said: “Scottish Rugby’s high-quality data and insights are reflected in the powerful findings about the reach and value of the game presented in this report. We are confident that they represent a minimum value that can grow based on further evaluation and service enhancements.

“Equally, and perhaps more importantly, we have confidence that the findings will be used to inform new policies and programmes that ensure rugby reaches into and delivers the greatest possible benefits for all of Scotland’s communities.”

Gav Scott, Scottish Rugby Director of Rugby Development said: “We welcome the findings of this important report. This gives weight to our beliefs that rugby’s value and reach is of great importance to Scotland and to the economy.

“We hope this is just the beginning, and plan to explore opportunities like these into the future to delve deeper into our sport. We must also thank the club representatives who have gone to great lengths to provide strong data and insights for Substance – without you, this would not be possible.”

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Social Return on Investment 2023/24 Report

Case study 1

Garioch RFC mums returning to rugby

Social Return on Investment: Garioch RFC mums returning to rugby

Case study 2

Orkney RFC, Caledonia North's club of the year

Social Return on Investment: Orkney RFC, Caledonia North’s club of the year

Case study 3

Dumfries Saints women and girl's pathway

Social Return on Investment: Dumfries Saints women and girls pathway

Case study 4

Murrayfield Wanderers provides youth opportunity

Social Return on Investment: Murrayfield Wanderers provides youth opportunity

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