Champions League Exit for Manchester Teams Might be Good for Economy

December 8, 2011

The double Champions League exit by Manchester United and Manchester City might not be as damaging to Manchester’s economy as first thought, in fact it might have a positive effect, tourism chiefs have said.

United and City were both knocked out of Europe’s premier competition last night in what is being branded as black Wednesday.

Both will now both take part in the less glamorous Europa League instead.

But while Old Trafford and Etihad officials will be counting the cost as the Europa League’s prize money is dwarfed by that on offer by its bigger sister, the double defeat could open the doors to a whole new market for Manchester’s tourism trade, analysts say.

The Reds and Blues, if they avoid each other and their fellow Premier League clubs left in the competition, will be up against lesser-known European clubs whose fans may seize the opportunity of a rare trip to Manchester.

And with City now favourites and United second favourites to lift the trophy both will expect to enjoy an extended stay in the competition.

Brian Sloan, chief economist at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “The average European football fan spends £776 ($1,213) in the city according to data from Visit Manchester and I would not expect that to change for fans of teams in the Europa League.

“Perhaps supporters of some of Europe’s clubs will seize the opportunity to come to Manchester as they have never been before and don’t know when they will get the chance to come again.

“It could actually have a positive effect on the city’s economy.

“It’s is obviously really disappointing that both of the city’s clubs are no longer in the Champions League and they will lose out because of the decrease in prize money.

“It’s devastating for fans and they will miss out on the benefits of being in such a high profile competition.

“But it could have a positive impact on the numbers of visitors.”