Sheffield United’s promotion to Premier League could be worth £5 million to the city, say experts

Sheffield United’s promotion to the Premier League could be worth as much as £5 million to the city’s economy, according to experts.

By Lee Peace
Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 2:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 2:20 pm
Sheffield United players celebrate promotion to the Premier League. Picture Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Sheffield United players celebrate promotion to the Premier League. Picture Simon Bellis/Sportimage

The Blades secured their elevation to football’s top tier following a 2-0 win over Ipswich on Saturday – and thanks to Leeds’ draw with Aston Villa.  

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Sheffield United players celebrate promotion to the Premier League. Picture Simon Bellis/Sportimage

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Next season is to be the first time any Sheffield club has been in the Premier League for more than a decade.

And finance experts today predicted the club’s promotion could boost Sheffield’s economy by millions of pounds and help to bring worldwide attention to the city. 

Dr Dan Plumley, a sport finance analyst at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “There are many ways in which the promotion could boost the economy. 

Richard Wright, director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

“Most Premier League teams will sell out their away support allocation so that in itself brings more footfall into the city. There is a chance they could stay over in hotels and obviously spent money in the bars and restaurants.

“If the club invests in new players then they be living locally and spending time here so that is another way that the money stays in the city.” 

He added: “The Premier League is shown in about 200 countries worldwide so it is a real chance to put the city on the map and to get the name of Sheffield out there. 

“There is a lot made of Sheffield being the ‘home of football’ with Sheffield FC and Sheffield Hallam, plus the two professional clubs.

Blades fans celebrate in the Clubhouse on London Road. Picture: Steve Ellis

“If we can tap into that even more then there is potentially a huge tourism boost there. 

“Sheffield United will get around £120 million for getting promotion, but it will be up to them how they spend it.

“It is hard to put a figure on how much it will be worth to the local economy – but I would cautiously estimate it will be about £5 million. That is based on information from previous studies on the financial impact of the Premier League in other areas.”  

Dr John Wilson, from the University of Sheffield’s Management School, said: “The impact on Sheffield should be substantial. There will be increased spending on merchandise, hotels, bars, restaurants, etc. This will put Sheffield on the map. 

Dr John Wilson.

“It is now widely acknowledged that Sheffield is the home of football and it is important that we build on this across the city to encourage visitors to see, stay and spend.

“For this we need to give them more reasons to stay longer including statues celebrating Sheffield’s football heritage, an enhanced Sheffield Home of Sheffield heritage app; a football heritage exercise trail; a sign at the railway station welcoming people to the home of football; a visitor centre etc. 

“It would be even better if Sheffield Wednesday got automatic promotion at the end of next season. Steel City derbies in the Premiership would be fantastic.”

Richard Wright, director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, also gave his congratulations to the club.

He said: “Well done to everybody involved. It’s hard to underestimate the importance of this to the city in both its awareness around the whole world, and its contribution to our local economy. 

“We have been hoping that one of our clubs, if not both, would make the premiership for some time.

“It means an increase in the morale of (some of) the city, a massive influx of funds to the club, and a potential increase into the number of visitors.

“We really hope that the Club can go on and establish its position in the league for many years to come.”