By Robbie Butler
Yesterday UEFA announced the 13 cities that will host the 2020 European Championship Finals. In a break from tradition, over a dozen different countries will share the hosting of the event on the 60th anniversary of the first staging of the competition.
Thankfully for the FAI and Irish football supporters, Dublin was included on the list of cities and will host 3 Group games and 1 Round of 16 knockout match. FAI CEO John Delaney was quick to point out that Ireland’s technical bid was ranked 3rd highest among the 19 entrants, with only Germany and England scoring higher.
Speaking on RTE Radio One, Delaney went on to add that the bid will be worth “tens of millions” to the Irish economy. Later in day, I heard the CEO speak again but he correctly caveated his thoughts on the economic benefits by pointing out that Ireland Inc. will probably do better if Ireland are not playing in Euro 2020 matches located here.
Gina Quinn of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce had similar thoughts estimating that the tournament could be worth between €50m-€100m to the city “depending on which teams are drawn to play in Dublin”.
One thing is for sure, Dublin is the big winner. Even if Ireland do play in the Aviva, businesses in the capital will benefit. Of course, Dubliners attending the games will add little or nothing to the local economy (they are there anyway!) but everyone else will inject money into the local economy, even the non-Dublin Irish.
This is almost identical to the Garth Brooks soap opera during the summer. Many speculated that the cancellation of the concerts had cost Ireland Inc. millions in lost consumption, tax revenue employment, etc. Dublin certainly lost out. But the Irish economy only lost that money that was coming from abroad. While this is no doubt sizable, this group was very much in the minority. The Irish simply did something else with the refund they received from Ticketmaster. No doubt Galway (the races were on that week) was a big hidden winner.
The Irish economy will benefit most from these four games if Ireland is not involved in the matches. Spain, France, Germany and England would be great teams to have located here as they have a massive support base. No doubt Irish people will (and should) attend the matches but access to tickets will be more difficult. The result being, an influx of foreign money into the economy.
As for me, I’d take Ireland in every game at the Aviva and forgo the money. For those of us lucky enough to remember places like Stuggart and Genoa, you’ll know there are some things that money can’t buy.
By Robbie Butler
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