Research by Cricket Australia at the end of the 2007 Ashes series, which the hosts won 5-0, provided a £133m boost for the Australian economy and led to the creation of 793 jobs. If England is successful, there is speculation that the Ashes could create a £500m injection into the UK economy at a time when businesses are crying out for any kind of boost.
Chris Gratton, Professor of Sport Economics at Sheffield Hallam University, suggested in the Evening Standard that the feel-good factor of England winning the Ashes may trigger a spending spree for items such as widescreen TVs, as well as increased spending in restaurants, pubs and bookmakers. The British Retail Consortium agrees a successful series would have a tangible impact on the economy and encourage spending.
Julia Lynch Williams, director of energy services at Ashes sponsor npower, says the economy in Cardiff (where the first test was played) has been boosted by between £10m and £15m.
“That’s local to the economy,” she says. “That doesn’t include implications from TV revenue.”
Lynch Williams says businesses local to the grounds hosting the series as well as those involved in areas such as merchandising could be in for a windfall.
“We’ve met a lot of organisations who are struggling but a few weeks’ boost from the cricket in the current climate might make the difference,” she says.
Lynch Williams suggests small businesses around the cricket grounds ensure they’re fully resourced so they can take advantage of the wave of potential new customers coming their way.
“There’s a deli near Lords that’s fully prepared for this and that has been key. They’re fully staffed to manage the influx of extra people,” she says. “It’s important to understand and plan for what’s going to happen over that period of time.”
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