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Northern Ireland economy to receive £8.5 million boost from Euro 2016

Steven Davis and Josh Magennis celebrate at Windsor Park following a goal against Latvia last November

NORTHERN Ireland's participation in Euro 2016 will drum up £8.5 million extra for the north's economy, a study has found.

That's the estimated additional spending by football fans on beer, treats, merchandising and travel, the Ulster University report said.

Supporters who will be staying at home to watch the match on TV will be some of the highest contributors with £4m generated in additional sales of beer, confectionery and food.

An increase in attendances at local pubs and fan-zones in Lisburn, Newtownabbey and Belfast during matches is expected to contribute £2.8m via spend in the pub and on transport and fast food consumption.

Sales of the best-selling Northern Ireland home and away shirts and other official merchandise is estimated to generate an additional £2.5m, bringing the total estimated injection to £8.5m – equating to £2.8m per match.

Andrew Webb, senior adviser at the Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre, said: “The European Championship Finals is a significant sporting event for Northern Ireland but with the added benefit of not having many of the associated costs that come with actually hosting the event.

“The buzz surrounding the tournament will bring more people to pubs and fanzones to watch the matches as well as see them organise get-togethers at home. As retailers benefit from the additional expenditure that comes from this there is an increase in demand on their suppliers and so on down the supply chain.”

And he said that the figures were are most likely conservative.

“There are of course a range of wider additional benefits which we can’t quantify such as extra advertising and publicity for Northern Ireland as a result of the Euro 2016 qualification as well as sponsorship deals and television rights packages that may come later, with a higher profile team. So it is likely that the total economic benefit would be slightly higher than we have estimated," he said.

Oonagh O’Reilly, sales and marketing director at the Irish Football Association, said: “We’re delighted to see the team’s participation in the Euros will have a significant impact on the Northern Ireland economy.

"The support for the team has been phenomenal; the qualification means a lot to the country. There are some things you can’t put a price on though, the whole of Northern Ireland getting behind the team for their first major tournament in 30 years being one of them.”

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