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Contribution of Culture and Sport to GDP

Source: ATB Financial’s Economics & Research Team, April 30, 2019

Contribution of Culture and Sport to GDP

From music festivals and libraries to sporting events and video game design, Albertans both produce and enjoy a wide range of cultural and sports activities. In economic terms, these activities generated more than $6.1 billion of GDP for the province in 2017, or about 2.0 per cent of that year’s total GDP.

Culture-related activities account for majority, at 86.5 per cent of the total GDP. In per capita terms, that amounts to $1,248 of GDP generated per Albertan compared to $194 for sports activities. The national figures are $1,448 per person for culture and $180 per person for sport.

The largest sub-sector is audio-visual and interactive media at $1.9 billion (31.1 per cent of the total culture and sport GDP). According to Statistics Canada, this sub-sector “includes activities related to video game publishing, film, television and video production, as well as motion picture exhibition.”

The second largest sub-sector is visual and applied arts at just over $1.0 billion (16.3 per cent of the culture and sport GDP). Organized sport, which includes both professional and amateur sporting events, generated $349.5 million of GDP (5.7 per cent of the culture and sport GDP).

When it comes to jobs, 66,584 Albertans were employed in the culture and sport sector in 2017. Of these jobs, 53,739 were in culture and 12,845 were in sport. The number of jobs in culture slipped by 8.4 per cent between 2014 and 2017 while jobs in sports increased by 4.4 per cent. This suggests jobs related to cultural activities were hurt more by the recession than those related to sports.


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