World Cup footBALLS: doing the math

“The World Cup could pump up to £100 million into Bristol’s economy if the city becomes one of the football tournament’s host cities,” the Evening Cancer assured us last month.

Could? If? These are conditionals aren’t they?

So where did the Cancer get this impressively enormous figure from then?

Er, Bristol City Council. Or to be even more precise from Stephen Wray, who now masquerades under the soppy and pretentious title of ‘Partnerships Director’ at the council on a six-figure salary after being removed last year from his post as Head of Culture and Leisure Services for being useless.

And strangely enough he was particularly useless at sums and arithmetic involving large amounts of public money. Because this is the city council director that assured us in November 2006 that the new Museum of Bristol project would cost us £18m.

A couple of years later, at the last count, the cost of this project was a little under £27m, which means Wray was only out by about 50% on that one.

So where did his figure of £100 million in revenue for the World Cup come from then?

The Cancer refers vaguely to a combination of gate receipts (which will be shared by FIFA, the FA and Bristol City FC not the city council or any other local businesses), a fan park (there were 39 fan parks in Germany attracting a total of 18.4m fans at an average of 470,000 people per fan park) and tourism receipts.

England’s official world cup bid site mentions a rise of €400 million (£340m) in tourism receipts for the whole of Germany for the whole of their World Cup tournament. It also refers to the 3.36m fans who actually attended the live matches spending €20 million (£17m).

So extrapolating a ball-park figure for Bristol based on 5 games at 100% capacity (210,000 fans) plus an average size fan park gives us a figure of less than £9m, nowhere near Wray’s £100m.

To put this into perspective, the Bristol Harbour Festival has been running for 35 years, will cost £400,000 this year and will bring in 200,000 – 250,000 visitors in three days, yet the City Council has no real idea how much revenue it brings into the city so how can anybody have any idea about a one-off event like the World Cup?

The answer is they don’t. But why let the truth get in the way of a crude PR campaign?

However what the council should be able to tell us – but aren’t – is how much of our money they’re prepared to spend to host a World Cup.

Because have no doubt it will cost. The infrastructure demands for a major international event like the World Cup are huge.

But how much? Where’s the money coming from? And when will we be told?

Surely the city council have done the sums and worked this all out before embarking on their gushing PR campaign for the benefit of the FA and the local press?

And surely Mr Wray, when he presents Bristol’s bid to the FA in November, won’t be presenting them with a blank cheque underwritten by us?

Let’s remember too that FIFA and their big business backers are some of the most voracious and skilled deal makers around who undoubtedly have the skills and the leverage to run rings around Wray and the business amateurs at Bristol City Council.

So Mr Wray how much is this going to cost us? Perhaps we could clear up this minor detail now please?

This entry was posted in Ashton Vale, Bristol, Bristol Evening Post, Economy, Local government, Politics, World Cup 2018 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to World Cup footBALLS: doing the math

  1. James Barlow says:

    “do the math”? Gone transatlantic, have we? We “do the maths “in this country.

    Well spotted. The sensible option for the Council would be to run a mile from this initiative, and let the local football teams (I say teams because I understand there’s a part-time pub-side up in Horfield somewhere) negotiate with the FA using their own collateral.

  2. thebristolblogger says:

    Just spotted: the alleged £100m revenue from the World Cup has mutated into “£100 million of investment” from Babs Janke and the council in today’s Post:

    Clever that.

    Or don’t the Post and/or the council know the difference between revenue and investment? (Clue: one’s earned, the other’s spent).

    They don’t know what they’re doing …

  3. Jozer says:

    Watch it Barlow. We wouldn’t want any stray blue paint hitting your car now, would we?

    Seriously, “they don’t know what they’re douing”? Oh but I think they do. Unlike the Dunfordrome, which is dead in the water, Ashton Vale is the work of a real buisinessman, with money and friends and stuff, and involves our good old mates the MVs, so it will happen. BCC & the evil post are just doing their job, providing the political cover for Bristol’s real rulers.

    The World Cup angle is a bit of a ‘red’ herring here. SL doesn’t really care if it comes to his stadium. It wouldn’t make all that much for him. It’s getting the stadium built for Bedminster Town FC that matters to him. The WC angle is just bait to justify trashing the green belt & inflicting a third supermarket on Winterstoke Rd.

  4. Anon says:

    Cost/benefit analysis? wossat then?
    Business case justification? never erd ofit
    Feasibility study? youre avinalaff
    Wouldn’t trust this BCC shower with running a whelk stall.

  5. SteveL says:

    one aspect of the money is risk analysis: What is the likelihood of the money coming in. Assume that if the UK gets the world cup and it a match comes to BRS then we get 100M. But if the chance of the UK getting the cup is only 50%, the value is 100M*.5, or 50M. then if there is only a 40% chance of us getting the match, its value drops to 20M. The 100M is a “never to be exceeded number”. In theory it may happen, but you need to factor in the likelihood it wont happen, and then there’s a lot less money on the table.

  6. Bristol Dave says:

    So Mr Wray how much is this going to cost us? Perhaps we could clear up this minor detail now please?

    You should know by now that such niceties are irrelevant to BCC, frankly.

    This world cup bid has been driven in part by Jandroid, who probably thinks that anything that “markets the city” (that old fucking chesnut) is worth it, regardless of cost.

  7. Pingback: World Cup footBALLS: part one – business case? « The Bristol Blogger

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