AFC Bournemouth to invest wisely - Eddie Mitchell

By Nabil HassanBBC Sport
AFC Bournemouth to extend stadium

Bournemouth chairman Eddie Mitchell has promised the club will invest wisely as they return to the Championship for only the second time in their history.

The Cherries were last promoted to English football's second tier in 1987.

And the south-coast side are now set for a significant increase of around £4.6m in revenue as a result of promotion.

"By and large we will be better off but the money has got to be spent wisely," Mitchell told BBC South Today.

Sports economist Rob Wilson from Sheffield Hallam Universityexternal-link says promotion could be worth up to £5m for the Cherries - a 10-fold increase for the club.

"It's worth between £4.6m to £5m to the club," Wilson told BBC Sport. "That is a combination of TV revenue, additional sponsorship and commercial activity and hopefully increased gate receipts. That's all worth around £5m.

"Their central funding at the moment through TV and so on would be worth around £325,000- £400,000 in League One, so it is a significant jump.

"TV revenue is the biggest contributor to increased revenue for the club. But you would expect them to be able to negotiate better commercial deals and sponsorship endorsements from local and regional suppliers, such as shirt sponsorship, and then you would probably get a marginal increase in the gate receipts."

Bournemouth, who are co-owned by Russian businessman Maxim Demin, have invested heavily in player recruitment over the past two years.

And Mitchell believes the players who earned promotion deserve to prove themselves at a higher level.

"It's left to the manager to decide," said Mitchell. "Personally, I believe we have a great combination of players in the side who can take themselves further and they rightly deserve the chance to do that."

Mitchell, who told BBC South Today on Monday that they intended to increase the capacity at their Goldsands Stadium by up to 4,000 seats, also insists that Bournemouth are determined to maintain their place in the Championship.

"Promotion is worth a lot in terms of exposure and feel-good factor, and I think all those things combined will give us momentum to stay there and possibly go further," he said. "Our number one aim is to stay there.

"To sustain that we have to pay higher wages and there will be other expenses as well but our aim has to sustain our level of football at that league."

As well as the impact it will have on the club, the town is also set to benefit with business advisory firm BDO explaining that trade in other towns and cities has increased as result of promotion to the Championship.

In a recent study conducted by BDO looking at the impact of promotion to the Championship on local hotel performance, it showed a growth of 2.4% along the coast in Brighton and Stuart Barnsdall, partner at BDO, believes Bournemouth can expect a similar impact.

"I think the main area where people would expect there to be a boost is the local economy, so restaurants, bars and local hotels," Barnsdall told BBC Sport.

"Looking at past examples you can undoubtedly see they go up more than local trend. I think in absolute terms you would definitely see a boost to the local economy.

"Of course, Bournemouth is a big area and has a strong tourist business as well. So in percentage in terms it would not be anything like as big as some other towns and cities who have achieved promotion to the Championship.

"But in monetary terms Bournemouth should still get the same affect and benefit to local economy."

But while the club and town are set to benefit Barnsdall, who has also audited Fulham Football Club for several years, has sounded a warning to the Cherries not to spend beyond their means.

"Wages is the big challenge for the club from a financial perspective, to manage this growth and these salary levels in a sustainable way," he said.

"There will undoubtedly be other cost areas they feel they have to invest in. Some, they will get a good pay back [from], but in terms of players' wages you have to walk a tightrope.

"They will have to invest to stay in the Championship but it is very fine balancing act."

Manager Eddie Howe admits the club will have to be smart with the players they bring into the club and the amount they are paying.

"You will have a lot of clubs there with wage bills miles in excess of ours," he told BBC Radio Solent. "We are going to be a small fish and we have to be really clever with the business we do and how we set the team up.

"It's a great challenge we should embrace rather than fear."