VIDEO: Special Olympics brings huge economic boost to Sheffield

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Sheffield hosting the 2017 Special Olympics boosted the city's coffers by nearly £3.3 million.

An independent report and research conducted by Sheffield Hallam University shows the city reaped the rewards from thousands of spectators and athletes travelling in.

The Special Olympics GB benefited Sheffield to the tune of 3.3 million. Picture: George Torr/The Star

The Special Olympics GB benefited Sheffield to the tune of 3.3 million. Picture: George Torr/The Star

The report said more than 7,500 of the estimated 9,200 spectators were visiting from outside the city and accounted for half of the impact at £1.65m.

Visiting athletes, coaches and other attendee groups collectively generated a further £1.31m and net organisational expenditure in Sheffield contributed the remaining £310,000.

The games also generated 35,000 commercial room bookings from hotels during the five-day event.

Accommodation at £1.67m and food and drink sales £700,000 were responsible for the majority of visitor spending in the city. Shopping accounted for a further £290,000 of the impact on Sheffield.

The Special Olympics GB National Games kicked-off with an opening ceremony at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane stadium last August complemented by four days of sporting action.

The games– which are held every four years – was the biggest disability multi-sports event in the country in 2017, with 2,600 athletes with learning disabilities from across England, Scotland and Wales taking part in 20 different sports across a dozen South Yorkshire venues.

Richard Coleman, principal researcher of the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University said: ”An economic impact on Sheffield of £3.28m vindicates the decision to bring the Special Olympics GB National Games back to the city and is testament to the desire, time and resources committed by national and local agencies in delivering a wonderful sporting spectacle and celebration of the human spirit.”

Coun Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure at Sheffield Council, said: “We were thrilled to host the Special Olympics National Games last summer and it’s great that this research reflects the positive financial impact that the athletes, their families, the spectators and the media attention had on Sheffield.

"I’d like to thank everyone involved for making the event such a huge success.”