Leeds is set for a multi-million pound boost to its economy for its part in helping stage one of the biggest tournaments in world sport next year.
The hosting of two games at next year’s Rugby World Cup at Elland Road is estimated to have an economic impact of £53m on Leeds, according to a report.
Two pool matches will be played on the weekend of September 26-27, with Italy facing Canada on the Saturday and Scotland taking on the USA the following day.
Leeds is one of 13 cities across England and Wales that will host games with the tournament as a whole set to generate a total output of £2.2billion, which translates into a contribution of £982m to the national GDP.
The study, which was undertaken by EY on behalf of the Organising Committee for Rugby World Cup 2015, states that Rugby World Cup 2015 is expected to attract more than 450,000 international visitors.
Through spend on items including travel and accommodation, visitors are expected to contribute up to £869m in direct expenditure.
The direct impact on cities is measured on infrastructure development and stadia refurbishment in the planning phase, and ticket revenue, match day food and drink, fanzones and tourist spending during the days of the games.
Post-tournament legacy factors, including lasting tourism effects and the increase in participation and interest in the sport, are also taken into account. Five sites around the city will host the competing teams during their stay in Leeds, which will also contribute to the economic footprint.
The report looks at Exeter and Newcastle as case studies, with 12,000 people projected to visit Exeter for three games and 51,000 to travel to Newcastle for three matches.
Given Leeds’s forecasted economic impact is in between the two cities but closer to Exeter’s, then it would be fair to assume that around 20,000 fans are expected to descend on the city for the two games.
The author of the report, Peter Arnold, said: “Our forecasts are based on a whole range of direct, indirect and induced benefits, from the investment that will be made in infrastructure to the ticket and tax revenues that will be generated.”
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills, said hosting the Rugby World Cup 2015 was a massive coup for Leeds.