World Cup footBALLS: part one – business case?

By chief sports writer, Sell Outter

Has the Evening Cancer realised it might have made a mistake believing senior council officer Stephen Wray’s absurd estimate that £100m could come into the city as a result of a successful World Cup bid?

The Cancer’s Comment column on Saturday blustered inanely, “There is debate about how much monetary value a series of World Cup games would bring to the City. Forget the exact figures ….let’s just say the effect would be considerable”

Perhaps the penny has dropped that Wray – who, believe it or not, is paid a six-figure salary to give supposedly skilled and objective advice to elected councillors rather than act as a PR bag carrier for the city’s wealthy men – has provided figures that appear to be entirely the product of his own imagination?

England hasn’t hosted a World Cup since 1966, so it’s difficult to gauge the financial benefits that might accrue from a major football tournament. Although in 1996 we did host football’s European Championships – a tournament that, after the World Cup, is football’s most prestigious.

Indeed the Euro 96 tournament in England still holds the record for the largest overall match attendance at a European Championships:

“Euro 96 was in economic terms the most successful sports event ever to be held in England. In total over 280,000 visiting spectators and media came to the UK to attend Euro’ 96 matches, spending approximately £120m in the eight host cities and surrounding regions.

“London enjoyed the biggest impact, £34m in additional expenditure generated by overseas visitors associated with Euro 96. In the North West of England overseas visitors generated an additional £16.3m in the regional economy in addition to the £10.3m and £6.7m generated in Manchester and Liverpool respectively. If additional domestic tourism expenditure is included, the total economic impact induced by all spectators, media and officials in the eight host cities as a result of Euro 96 is estimated at £195m.”

Football Came Home: The Economic Impact of Euro 96 – Dobson, Gratton, and Holliday, 1997

So the total additional expenditure for all overseas and domestic visitors was £195m, which at 2009 values is £245 million. But our highly paid objective expert Wray apparently thinks that Bristol – all on its own – will attract £100m.

How? If Manchester generated £10.3m (or £12.9m at 2009 values) from it’s 5 matches, and Liverpool £6.7m (£8.4m today) from the 4 games held there, it’s difficult to reconcile how Bristol would generate £100 million.

At Euro 96, the capacity for Manchester’s Old Trafford ground was 55,000 and all but one of the games had attendances beyond the maximum capacity of the proposed new stadium for Bristol City. The income generated equates to £2.6 million per match, which is nowhere near the £20 million per match that has been proclaimed by Wray from the pages of the Cancer.

A study produced by the Leisure Industries Research Centre looked at the specific case of the city of Sheffield, which hosted three games during Euro 96. Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough ground was used as a venue and with a capacity of 40,000 it is comparable to the proposed new Bristol City stadium.

During the tournament, Sheffield hosted the Danish team – their three games (against Portugal, Croatia and Turkey) attracted a total attendance of 97,615 (81% capacity). Of this, some 61,000 were visitors to the city (around 20,000 per game) with the majority being day visitors, despite the fact that Danish fans had good reason to locate themselves in the city itself.

The additional spend in the city by these visitors (both day and overnight stays, domestic and overseas visitors) worked out at £5.3m (£6.6m at 2009 values) over the three games or roughly £1.77m per match (2009: £2.2m). This, again, is nowhere near the £20m per match forecast by Wray but perfectly compatible with the figures for Manchester.

The World Cup Bid site itself quotes a figure equivalent to £340 million for additional tourism expenditure from the whole of the World Cup in Germany in 2006.

Is it any wonder the Evening Cancer suddenly wants to divert attention away from a detailed discussion of the potential financial benefits of a World Cup for Bristol? Their figures simply don’t stack up.

As for our extremely well-paid, “expert”, “best in the business“, “objective” employee Mr Wray, I wonder … Will he stepping up to the plate to issue a public correction and apology for his highly misleading figures? Or will he be keeping his head down hoping the new wealthy business and media friends he seems to be working for will protect him?

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

17 Responses to World Cup footBALLS: part one – business case?

  1. Martin says:

    I think you are trying too hard to prove your point. First of all, you talk about 2009 values of £245m. But the tournament will be in 2018.

    Second, you compare Manchester’s £10.3m to Wray’s £100m. But it’s not like for like. The £10.3m only refers to foreign money, ie visitors from abroad. Surely there will be vastly more money generated by UK people in bars etc.

    Third, Euro 96 had 16 teams and was, of course, confined to Europe. I’m not saying there was not interest in the rest of the world, but the World Cup is way bigger. Every country, in the tournament or not, is interested. Therefore, the TV audience will be enormous so the knock-on benefits will be similarly big. We also don’t know about TV revenues.

  2. chris hutt says:

    Martin, we can’t know what the 2018 values will be, so it’s only possible to talk in terms of 2009 values.

    You say the World Cup is way bigger, but, like other promoters of the World Cup hype, you don’t give any figures. BB does give figures based on real events. If you or others want to contest them then you must provide equally credible figures.

  3. Martin says:

    Of course I don’t have the figures. The point is, BB says Euro 96 made X so the World Cup will also make X (with a 2009 factor).

    What I am saying is the World Cup will make X (with a 2018 factor – (likely to be more)/and a bigger event factor/and a more TV revenue factor/and a lessons to be learned factor from previous events/and a first WC in Europe for 12 years factor) all adding up – probably – to more than a just a like for like comparison with Euro 96. For me, BB is comparing apples with oranges – it’s a football tournament but quite a different one.

  4. paul smith says:

    I wonder if BB could set out the additional income to the BB site from all the world cup stories he has carried

  5. thebristolblogger says:

    I think you are trying too hard to prove your point.

    Compared to council officers on six-figure salaries who seem to twiddle their thumbs in meetings in their “breakout space” all day before making numbers up off the top of their heads, yes.

    Apologies to everyone for making a coherent business case, I appreciate it’s a shock to the people of Bristol.

    First of all, you talk about 2009 values of £245m. But the tournament will be in 2018.

    And what figures was Wray using? Doesn’t bother saying does he? Which just adds to their utter meaninglessness.

    Second, you compare Manchester’s £10.3m to Wray’s £100m. But it’s not like for like. The £10.3m only refers to foreign money, ie visitors from abroad. Surely there will be vastly more money generated by UK people in bars etc.

    The all-in figure for England is £245m at today’s prices. Wray seems to think 40% of that will come to Bristol.

    I’ll be discussing alcohol and sales to fans at a later date with reference to FIFA.

    Third, Euro 96 had 16 teams and was, of course, confined to Europe. I’m not saying there was not interest in the rest of the world, but the World Cup is way bigger. Every country, in the tournament or not, is interested. Therefore, the TV audience will be enormous so the knock-on benefits will be similarly big. We also don’t know about TV revenues.

    We do. TV revenues go to FIFA. Host cities make money from visitors, not people watching it on telly.

  6. chris hutt says:

    From http://tinyurl.com/nelx4b

    TV rights income distribution, World Cup finals.

    100% to FIFA, 0% to host nation.

    Those guys at FIFA may be corrupt and avaricious but they aren’t stupid. They eat city councils for breakfast.

  7. Jozer says:

    “Every country, in the tournament or not, is interested.”

    Really?

    The USA & Canada, which are giants in terms of media use, are not very interested in ‘soccer’. Even when the WC was held in the USA most of their population was oblivious to it.

    Fact is SL doesn’t give a toss about the 2018 world cup. It’s just a trojan horse for him to get planning opermission not just for his new BCFC stadium at Ashton Vale, but for Ashton Gate to be turned in to a supermarket rather than housing, so making the whole move far less costly to SL/BCFC.

    Look at how it pans out- he gets the OK for Ashton Vale & Tescos before we even know if England have the 2018 WC or not.

    And thanks to his mates in local business & media, he’s got most of Bristol believing that if you don’t support his plans you are anti-something great happening for Bristol.

    If SL thinks that the WC is such a great thing, then BCC should say “fine, have your stadium, but Ashton Gate can only be sold for housing, as was the case all along. You will be the beneficiary of the new stadium, you pay for it”.

  8. chris hutt says:

    Jozer “It’s just a trojan horse for him to get planning opermission not just for his new BCFC stadium at Ashton Vale, but for Ashton Gate to be turned in to a supermarket rather than housing..”

    To which we must add other housing proposed on the Ashton Vale green belt near the stadium which appears to be ‘enabling’ development to generate more funds for the stadium.

    This in turn sets a precedent for further development into the Ashton Vale green belt which could ultimately see housing spreading up across the A38 to Dundry.

    All on the back of ludicrous World Cup hype, a World Cup that ‘might’ come to UK and if so ‘might’ then come to Bristol, and which might well have substantial net costs to those of us outside the charmed circle of Bristol’s great and good.

  9. Coops says:

    “If SL thinks that the WC is such a great thing, then BCC should say “fine, have your stadium, but Ashton Gate can only be sold for housing, as was the case all along. You will be the beneficiary of the new stadium, you pay for it”

    City say they need a new stadium because their capacity is limited. They say that they could easily fill a 30,000 seat stadium on the basis of having taken 40,000 plus to Wembley for the play-offs.

    Fine – 30,000 x £500 (roughly the price of a season ticket) = £15 million, which appears to be the difference between what City say they can get for Ashton Gate as residential versus what Tesco say they are willing to pay. In return for the fans stumping up the money for Ashton Gate to become housing, BCFC can give the fans a share in the new stadium – if it costs £100m that will be 15% ownership to the fans themselves with approriate representation on the board of directors.

    If City fans want a new stadium – they should put their hands in their own pocket not mine!

  10. Chris says:

    £500 = “roughly the price of a season ticket”??? The dearest season tickets are less than that so I fail to see what your point is.

    Looks like you’re merely making up numbers to suit an ill-constructed argument.

  11. Coops says:

    So Chris the Yawn, how much is the dearest season ticket? According to the City site it is £480

    And would you be willing to pay that to see City get a new stadium so they can play in the Premier League?

    Average season ticket price in Prem = £615
    http://tinyurl.com/mfdxym

    City may not be there yet but that’s why you want this stadium isn’t it?

    Put your money where your mouth is….

  12. thebristolblogger says:

    The principle that a private business like BCFC should use private sector methods to raise capital for investment is a perfectly sound one.

    Raising money through the sale of shares is a far better for the people of Bristol than dishing out state handouts for which we get no mometary return.

    No business would invest millions in return for some football matches and pop concerts nearby and some speculative ‘place marketing’ opportunities.

  13. Anon says:

    For goodness sake, Mr Wray is a very senior and well paid man so he must know exactly what hes’ doing – just leave him in peace to get on with it – you can have every confidence in him. Sleep well.

  14. Chris says:

    Coops – you clearly know nothing about me.

    Yes, in my personal case I would easily contribute that kind of sum towards the new stadium.

    I already contribute to the club in funding (alongside many others) the training ground and academy facilities.

    Still fail to see how the figure of £480 supports your claim of £500 figure. I guess you failed to notice the free season-tickets for youngsters… the much lower cost tickets in the Wedlock Stand (East End).

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