Observatory Sport and physical activity Switzerland

Further information

A document (PDF) containing detailled information on all indicators is available in German.

Swiss sports system

"The Swiss sports system" is one of the Observatory's indicator domains and includes 11 groups of indicators. The indicators in this domain refer to important actors and organisations as well as the economic impact of sport.

Short information on the indicators in this domain is available by clicking on the indicators' names below. More complete information in German can be displayed by clicking on the links on the left hand side.

Further information on the Swiss sport system can also be found in: Kempf, H., und H. Lichtsteiner (Hg.): Das System Sport - in der Schweiz und international. Magglingen: BASPO. (Flyer).

5.1 Federal Office for Sport

Due to an increasing number of tasks assigned to the Federal government and the Federal Office for Sport, its expenses for sport have risen substantally in recent years. Currently, the annual expenses of the Federar Office for Sport amount to about 180 million Swiss Francs.

5.2 Public actors and organisations at the regional level (cantons)

About half of all Swiss cantons (the regional entities of Switzerland) have a so-called sports concept. In addition, 12 of the 26 cantons have a law regarding sport and/or the promotion of physical activity and a further 17 cantons have sport-specific by-laws. However, after a rapid growth during the early 2000s, there has recently been stagnation in the development of further sport laws and concepts.

5.3 Public actors and organisations at the local level

By providing sport facilities and as the local context for sport clubs, the communities play a major role in Swiss sport. In addition, the promotion of physical activity ususally takes place at the local level, e.g. in so-called local sport and physical activity networks.

5.4 Sport clubs and associations

Overall active membership in the roughly 20'000 Swiss sport clubs amounts to about 2 million (about 2.8 million memberships). The slight decrease in membership figures over the past few years has recently been stopped, and clubs remain the single most important suppliers of sports opportunities in Switzerland. In addition, the decrease in membership figures does not affect all clubs and associations equally - some "modern" sports are growing at a considerable rate.

5.5 International sport organisations in Switzerland

Currently, a total of 72 international sport organisations and federations have their headquarters in Switzerland (the most important being the IOC and FIFA). This number has increased steadily over the past few years.

5.6 Private providers of sport opportunities

Over the past 25 years, private fitness centers have become important providers of sport opportunities. Currently, about 16 percent of the Swiss population hold a fitness center membership.

5.7 Economic impact of sport

In 2011 sport has generated sales of about CHF 20 billion; total value added amounted to over CHF 10 billion. Overall, sport contributes 1.7 percent to the Swiss GNP.

At the individual level, the Sport Switzerland 2014 suggests that persons aged 15 and older spend about CHF 2500 per year on sports (including holidays and sports events).

5.8 Sport and occupation

In 2011, sports contributed about 100'000 full-time equivalent jobs or 2.5% to the total employment in Switzerland.

5.9 Voluntary work in sport

Voluntary work is a most important resource for sports at the level of clubs and associations. Currently there are about 335'000 volunary positions in Swiss sports. On average, one position requires 11 hours of work per month. These figures correspond to about 22'800 full-time jobs and a monetary equivalent of about 2 billion Swiss Francs.

Since 1996, the number of voluntary positions and the total of work done in these positions has slightly decreased (1996: 350'000 positions and about 24'000 full-time equivalents). Paid labor, on the other hand, still only plays a minor role in Swiss sports clubs (about 15'500 positions and workers corresponding to about 4'400 full-time jobs).

5.10 Sport facilities

Estimates  suggest that there were about 32'000 sports facilities in Switzerland in 2012. The situation looks favorable with respect to gyms and outdoor facilities whereas indoor swimming pools and skating rinks are comparatively rare.

5.11 Spaces and areas for physical activity

Apart from the formal sports infrastructure, general areas (forests, meadows etc.) suitable for physical activity and sports are also of importance. Currently, about a third of the Swiss surface can be classified as "recreational".

Observatory Sport and physical activity Switzerland
c/o Lamprecht und Stamm SFB AG, Forchstrasse 212, CH-8032 Zürich
Phone: +41 44 260 67 60, E-Mail: info(at)sportobs.ch