The Economic Impact of International Sports Organisations in Switzerland 2008 - 2013

The Impact of International Sports Organisations on a local economy (in this case Switzerland) is far more significant and extensive than previously assumed.

International Sports Organisations have long been recognised as significantly influencing a country’s prosperity. However, it is sometimes difficult to assess their overall economic impact. In 2007, the AISTS conducted an early impact analysis, which was a first step toward measuring the total contribution of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to the local economy (at that time, the City of Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud). This study now goes further, expanding the methodology to include most international sport organisations (ISOs) and the scope of the analysis to the rest of Switzerland.

This report is remarkable in several respects. First, it covers a more comprehensive six-year period. Second, it builds on survey information provided by almost all International Federations and other ISOs linked to the IOC. It is also more comprehensive in terms of territorial scope since it examines the economic impact of the Olympic Movement on Lausanne, the Canton of Vaud and the Swiss Confederation. Finally, it takes one more step toward the measurement of the IOC’s non-economic impact by surveying residents about their perception of the IOC and ISOs.

We hope that this report will help policymakers and the public recognise the positive contribution of such organisations on increasing the prosperity of their nation.

Professor Jean-Jacques Dethier                                          Professor Stéphane Garelli
Georgetown University and University of Bonn             IMD and University of Lausanne

Please enjoy the report which can be downloaded in English and French or find the summary of the report findings below.


1. Overall Economic Impact

Together, the International Sports Organisations and their visitors spend an average of CHF 691 million within Switzerland per year. This spending generates CHF 379 million of additional impact on the Swiss economy, creating an average yearly economic impact of CHF 1.07 billion for Switzerland, CHF 0.55 billion for the Canton of Vaud and CHF 0.25 billion for the Lausanne region[1]. This includes direct, indirect and induced economic impacts.

Every CHF 1 spent in Switzerland by ISOs created CHF 1.55 for the local economy.

The IOC and its financially supported ISOs generated CHF 838 million of the average yearly economic impact in Switzerland. As a not-for-profit association, the IOC financially supports the organisation of the Olympic Games and the development of sport worldwide by redistributing its revenues. This includes a yearly average of CHF 128 million given to ISOs and other sports-related organisations in Switzerland.

2. Employment

The 45 ISOs involved in the study employed over 2,150 people in Switzerland in 2013, more than three quarters of whom worked for the IOC or its financially supported ISOs. Of these 2,150 employees, approximately 1,300 lived in the Canton of Vaud, of which 630 resided in the Lausanne region.

The same year, the total amount of income tax paid by ISOs' employees residing in the Canton of Vaud was estimated at CHF 40 million. ISOs contributed more than CHF 22 million on average each year to their employees’ pension funds.

3. Business Tourism

The study also reveals that the presence of the IOC and the ISOs in Switzerland attracted more than 32,000 overnight business visits annually.

The yearly average overall economic impact generated by visitors is estimated to be CHF 19 million.

4. Construction

While it is not the main source of economic impact, the construction sector benefits considerably from the activity of ISOs in Switzerland, with the creation of CHF 1.78 for each CHF 1 spent in this sector.

Together, ISOs spent CHF 206 million between 2008 and 2013 in construction work (including renovation), with more than a quarter spent during 2011 alone. Over the six years, the overall economic impact in the construction sector amounted to CHF 366 million, with a peak in the year 2011, which saw close to CHF 100 million of impact.

5. Impact on Perception

The impact of ISOs extends well beyond tangible data.

To account for this, a survey was conducted to measure the intangible impact of the IOC and ISOs in Switzerland.

The results show that 94% of respondents residing in the Canton Vaud are aware that the IOC is headquartered in Lausanne and 72% of these same respondents consider it important to host ISOs in the country.

From a national perspective, 80% of Swiss resident consider the title of “Olympic Capital” important for Lausanne and 70% are proud that the headquarters of the IOC are based in Switzerland.

Download the Summary in English and French. 

This study was mandated by the International Olympic Committee, the City of Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud.

About the Team

Professor Jean-Jacques Dethier
Economics Expert
Georgetown University and University of Bonn

Professor Stéphane Garelli
Economics Expert
IMD and University of Lausanne

Dr Claude Stricker
Head of the Study and AISTS Executive Director

Ms Amandine Bousigue
AISTS Project Manager

Mr Mandeep Saharan
AISTS Scientific Collaborator

[1] To be precise, CHF 250 million for the Lausanne region, CHF 546 million for the Canton of Vaud and CHF 1.07 billion for Switzerland

AISTS Founders