Rugby clubs in Scotland contributed almost £160 million to the country’s economy last year, a new report published by Scottish Rugby has revealed. 

The report – a first of its kind for Scottish grassroots rugby – demonstrates the value participating and volunteering in rugby delivers for society and the economy.  

Its publication comes at the end of a year’s research by Substance, specialists in understanding and assessing the social impact of sport and physical activity.  

Gav Scott, Scottish Rugby’s director of rugby development, hailed the report's publication.  

He said: “We started this journey about a year ago and there was loads of information we needed to gather to get the information for the report.  

“It's genuinely a celebration of everything that is done by clubs, schools and volunteers in the game.” 

Scotland Rugby News:

Scott said the report, which follows similar studies by the Irish Rugby Football Union and FIFA, shows the grassroots game's impact on the wider community.  

He added: "It is a genuine thanks. It's a great thing for us to say well done.  

“We hope we can have a game in the future that more people want to take part in, as volunteers or players." 

The headline number of £159.16m per year – which is a conservative value, according to the report - is broken up into three key pillars – social (£41.2m), economic (£13.46m) and health and wellbeing (£103.31m).  

You can read the full report here
Data was drawn from a wide range of sources including over 1,600 players, parents, volunteers and match officials.  

The extensive research found participation in rugby had a positive 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. 

Scotland Rugby News: Pupils from Wester Hailes High School took part in an event to mark the report's publicationPupils from Wester Hailes High School took part in an event to mark the report's publication (Image: SRU)
 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 clubs surveyed and Scottish Rugby, annual expenditure on club rugby was £24.4m in 2022/23.

 Some of that investment went into facilities, and the use of 416 rugby pitches across Scotland delivered a gross value add (GVA) of £7.5m. 
Scottish Rugby vice-president Keith Wallace, who is also chairman of the 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. 

Scotland Rugby News: Scottish Rugby vice-president Keith WallaceScottish Rugby vice-president Keith Wallace (Image: SRU)
“£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."

Maree Todd MSP, the Scotitsh Government's minister for social care, mental wellbeing and sport, 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.

“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.”