Norwich City Premier League promotion to boost economy

Delia Smith leads the Norwich City fans in celebration as they are promoted to the Premier League
Image caption Joint majority-shareholder Delia Smith has spent millions in the Premier push

Norwich City FC's promotion to the Premier League could bring millions more pounds into the local economy, according to top business experts.

Just one season in the top flight of football could be worth £90m - four times the current annual revenue - said club chairman Alan Bowkett.

But the county's hotels, shops and services could also benefit from the influx of thousands more football fans.

"It's a huge boost for Norwich," said Clare Millar from Visit Norwich.

"It will benefit in terms of increased tourism spend and possibly even business people wanting to tie-in meetings with a visit to the Premier League's newest club.

"We expect it will bring people to Norwich who have never been before," she added.

Norwich City were promoted to the Premier League after a six-year absence following a 1-0 win at Portsmouth on Monday night.

The win made them the first team since Manchester City in 2000 to seal back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League in two years.

The club nearly went into administration in the autumn of 2009.

Chief executive David McNally said after Monday's match that, "every waking breath will now be focused on staying in the Premier League".

The promotion will bring the club extra TV revenue, but it is also guaranteed £40m even if the team finish bottom - and an extra £750,000 for each place higher up the table - according to football trade magazine FC Business.

"They'll sell more shirts, more merchandise and sell-out all the corporate boxes," said Ryan McKnight from FC Business.

"If they've got their heads screwed on, they'll have a clause in their deal with Aviva [official sponsors] which means they'll earn more sponsorship for being promoted.

"I think they can earn something like £50m or £60m - it just shows the gulf between the Football League and the Premier League."

Plans are being discussed to increase the capacity of the Carrow Road stadium by another 8,000 seats, taking its total to 34,000.

'Centre of attention'

Image caption Manager Paul Lambert returned to a wave of optimism in the city

Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, said the benefits of Premier League football to the city as a "brand" were endless.

"This gives us a real boost in economic terms," he said.

"It raises the profile of Norwich in a way no marketing budget could possibly match and will bring us to the centre of attention - not just for the region and the country, but for the rest of the world.

"As a direct result of this I think we will start seeing other sporting initiatives coming to the city.

"I think what we've got to do is make sure that we stay positive about the team, but also extremely positive about what the impact can have for the long-term future of the city."

Tourism is the biggest industry in Norfolk worth £2.1bn a year.

Keith Brown, chief executive of East of England Tourism, believes that local businesses can capitalise on Norwich City's success, which is now being opened-up to audiences across the globe.

"It's extremely important, both for the city and the businesses that support such a promotion, but also the wider area of Norfolk with it being exposed to millions of people," he said.

"It will make a difference for the city's hoteliers, attractions, restaurants, bars etc because the people that attend these events are not just the fans but the sponsors behind these football teams.

"Of course, there will also be many more international visitors because there is a huge following of the premier teams around the world.

"We will be working on plans on how they can extract the maximum value from this fantastic opportunity that we've all been given."

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