The East Midlands economy could be boosted by as much as £147m during this summer’s Euro 2016 football championships, according to new figures.
East Midlands Chamber has analysed national data which predicts that the UK economy will benefit by up to £2.5bn in additional spending by consumers during the tournament – a similar level to that seen during the 2014 World Cup.
The figures predict that thirsty football fans across the region will drink more than £3.5m worth of beer during the course of the tournament, while those in the East Midlands who fancy a flutter will gamble around £29m on the outcome of games.
There is a downside, however. A separate study found that the regional economy could take an £11.8m hit as a result of lost productivity when England play Wales at 2pm on 16th June, as employees “throw a sickie”, take the afternoon off or spend working time browsing news and social media sites to keep tabs on the score.
Lucy Robinson, the Chamber’s director of resources, said: “We know that many people in the East Midlands are fanatical about football and this is set to translate into an economic boost for the region as fans shell out on the latest gadgets, merchandise and food and drink in preparation for and during the tournament.
“However, businesses may need to apply a bit of common sense if they have staff who want to watch the big games, to avoid a spike in unauthorised absence and the problems that come with it.
“A little flexibility on both sides, such as allowing staff to watch the games – subject to TV Licensing rules if on company premises – and then make up any lost working time at a later date, would go a long way to resolving any such issues.
“It’s important, however, to be fair and consistent if you allow staff flexibility during Euro 2016. For example, you may have staff of different nationalities who might want to watch their own countries in the same way that England fans will.
“And it’s not just about football, the same could apply to workers wanting to take time out to watch Wimbledon or the Rio Olympics, or attend music festivals or other social events. The key message is that if you apply a rule for one person, then it should be extended to all”.