News

How major sporting events can boost our economy for years to come

Giro d'Italia cyclists on the Causeway Coast in May 2014 against the impressive backdrop of Whiterocks Beach, Portrush and Donegal mountains
Giro d'Italia cyclists on the Causeway Coast in May 2014 against the impressive backdrop of Whiterocks Beach, Portrush and Donegal mountains Giro d'Italia cyclists on the Causeway Coast in May 2014 against the impressive backdrop of Whiterocks Beach, Portrush and Donegal mountains

HOSTING a major sporting event usually brings a host of economic, social and cultural benefits to that home nation, as it undoubtedly would to Ireland should it be given the nod for rugby's 2023 World Cup.

Of course, inviting the world into its parlour would come at a huge cost to this island in terms of security and improving infrastructure around many of the stadia.

But the benefits will far outweigh the outlay, and the wider economic impact is likely be felt long beyond the final whistle.

Dublin and Belfast are well used to staging mega-sporting events - regular fixtures like the Six Nations and other events such as the Irish Open Golf and Giro D’Italia.

We do these things impeccably. Fans and tourists bring in money to these events that normally wouldn't be there, and it benefits accommodation providers, restaurants, pubs, shops, transport providers and – even car parks.

The advantages - direct and indirect - for Ireland hosting the 2023 World Cup would be that it will unquestionably raise the profile of the country (and its key cities), which will attract tourists and business investment.

There is also the significant benefit of long-term investment which comes from preparing for a major event and the legacy of improved sporting venues, infrastructure and possibly public transport projects.

If Ireland does get the green light, there will be more than six years of planning and investment which will help create jobs and revitalise depressed areas, while another less quantifiable (though vital) positive will be the increased civic pride, enthusiasm and feel-good factor.

But it may not all be plain sailing, and with such a spotlight being put on Ireland, there it potential for a fall if everything doesn't go according to plan.

However they will be questions for another day. Right now, let's just beat the French and South Africans and get the hosting rights over the line . . .