DOI: 10.3390/su151512009 ISSN: 2071-1050

The Role of Digital Economy in Enhancing the Sports Industry to Attain Sustainable Development

Xiaolong Wei, Jianwei Zhang, Oleksii Lyulyov, Tetyana Pimonenko
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction

The digital economy system is an essential driving force that promotes the development of the sports industry, aligning with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure), Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). This paper aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the roles of the digital economy in enhancing the sustainable high-quality development of the sports industry in China. This study utilizes panel data from 17 provinces in China, spanning the period from 2014 to 2020. The level of high-quality development in both China’s digital economy and sports industry is calculated using the entropy method. To examine the empirical relationship between the digital economy and the sports industry’s high-quality development, this study employs benchmark regression, mediation models, and spatial analysis and conducts robustness tests. The findings of this study indicate that the digital economy not only directly and significantly contributes to the development of the sports industry but also drives it indirectly through the transformative effects of technological innovation. This study reveals that the impacts of the digital economy on the sports industry’s high-quality development exhibit nonlinear characteristics, with an initial period of rapid growth followed by a diminishing growth rate and spatial spillover effects. By recognizing this dynamic relationship, stakeholders could better strategize and allocate resources in their efforts to achieve SDGs. To advance the development of the sports industry and contribute to the SDGs, it is crucial to accelerate the construction of digital infrastructure in China, nurture a diverse pool of talent in sports science and technology, and develop region-specific strategies that consider sustainability and inclusivity.

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