Manchester is the ‘best example’ globally of any host city that has delivered a sporting legacy, according to research we released last week conducted with Salford Business School. The research has shown that public investment in the event, and regeneration infrastructure and activity associated with the Commonwealth Games, increased from £640 million to £670 million in 2014.

The sports paper highlighted that in 1995 careful consideration was given to the future use of the City of Manchester stadium, prior to its development. Twelve years after the event, it is still reaping rewards for the region, generating £4 million a year in revenue for Manchester City Council over the next 250 years. This income stream underpins eight regional sports centres of excellence, including covering the full operating costs of the Velodrome, together with a new basketball centre.

Neil Fairlamb, Head of Sport, Community and Cultural Services, Growth and Neighbourhoods Directorate, at Manchester City Council said: “Manchester is the best example globally of any host city that has delivered a ‘legacy’. What you’re seeing is an ongoing investment stream that is going back into sport year on year, while we continue to expand the original Games facilities – something that is unparalleled.

Since 2002, the Velodrome has doubled in size, with the City of Manchester Stadium extending capacity from 48,000 capacity to 54,000 in 2015. The combination of these factors, together with other major sporting events, has driven considerable growth in the North West, encouraging significant investment and participation in the sport.

According to the research, the North West sports sector is worth almost £6 billion to the region’s economy, with streams of income generated within the region running far deeper than the rich footballing veins, which are estimated to contribute around £330 million in gross value added (GVA).

Consumer spending on sports-related goods, together with media rights, sponsorship, major sporting events, ‘sports tourism’ and education, have all been cited as significant contributors to the North West’s sporting coffers.

Professor Chris Brady, Director at Salford Business School’s centre for Sports Business, said: “Football is undoubtedly the most important sport to the region’s economy. However, the exploits of Dave Brailsford and the cycling achievements add significantly to the profile of the region generally, as do all the other minor sports.”

The four-month research aims to address a number of key areas, including providing an overview of the current landscape and identifying which areas of sport are the most valuable to the region. We carried out the research under The University of Salford’s Unite with Business initiative. The programme aims to provide North West companies with supported knowledge exchange to increase business innovation, performance and productivity.

It has shown that in terms of future growth for the region’s sports sector, increased collaborative working between voluntary, private and public sector organisations, combined with the correct utilisation of clubs and stadia, holds the key to unlocking greater commercial success. In addition, the research identified the next growth territory for North West sports-related brands as India.

John Burns, sports specialist from our Manchester office, said: “India is a natural growth target for clubs and organisations, mainly due to its own economic prosperity, together with a growing appetite for sport. With no issue in terms of language and lower barriers to entry than in other locations, together with existing infrastructure, if you have a sound business proposition then you will have a real chance of achieving significant traction and possibly enjoy greater revenue streams than in the UK.”

If you would like to see what experts Yvonne Harrison (chief executive, Greater Sport), Professor Chris Brady (director, Salford Business School’s centre for Sports Business), Paul Fletcher (retired English professional footballer; formerly the chief executive of Burnley) and Andy Gatcliffe (chief executive of Warrington Wolves) thought of the paper, take a look at the short video below. Alternatively, you can view the research paper by clicking here.


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This blog is intended only as a synopsis of certain recent developments. If any matter referred to in this blog is sought to be relied upon, further advice should be obtained.