London could forgo potential economic impact of $354m if Euros is played behind closed doors

London could potentially lose out on $354m if the belated Euro 2020 tournament turns out to be played behind closed doors in the summer of 2021, due to ongoing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s latest report, ‘Analyzing Commercial Impact of UEFA Euro 2020 Tournament Postponement’, highlights that if London were to host all of its scheduled games to international and domestic fans, this would create a significant contribution to economic recovery. Although the forecast economic impact of this is just 2.3% of what was lost in tourism expenditure in 2020, spending at the tournament could act as a springboard for tourism recovery beyond the short-term.

Ralph Hollister, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The worst-case scenario would be for the tournament to be played behind closed doors. If so, a long-term positive impact is lost as well as short-term. Hosting a major sporting event like the Euros is a great marketing tool for cities, in terms of repeat visits from attendees and the creation of positive word of mouth for first time visits from new tourists.

“The situation could also go the other way; there have been constant murmurs about England hosting the whole tournament. Although this is just speculation, having the entire tournament in England with only domestic fans allowed could mean that the economic impact for London would still be significant.”

England has the infrastructure in place to hold a major sporting event on short notice, from mega-stadiums to high class training facilities for the international teams, due to the amount of capital that is injected into the English Premier League. Additionally, the UK has administered the most vaccines overall in Europe, which means England would be in prime position to take on more games. However, this scenario still looks highly unlikely with UEFA keen to adhere as closely to the original format as possible.

Hollister concludes: “With spending from tourists in central London reportedly plummeting by £10.9bn ($15.1bn) in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the capital’s economic recovery would no doubt benefit from hosting all of its scheduled Euro 2020 games to domestic and international visitors.”

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