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Economic Impact of the 19/20 UEFA Champions League in Portugal

Still with 4 matches of the round of 16 to be played, on the 17th of June, UEFA announced that the Champions League quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final will take place in Lisbon, at the Sport Lisboa e Benfica Stadium (will host the final) and José Alvalade Stadium, belonging to Sporting Clube de Portugal. The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be played in only one leg. A decision is still pending regarding the location of the remaining matches of the round of 16 that may take place in the stadiums of Barcelona, ​​Bayern Munchen, Juventus, and Manchester City or in Portugal, at Estádio do Dragão, belonging to Futebol Clube do Porto and D. Afonso Henriques Stadium, home of Vitória Sport Clube. For now, the presence in Lisbon of the surprising Atalanta, Atlético de Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig are guaranteed.

The cities chosen by UEFA

Year after year, major European cities are bidding to host the final of the world’s biggest competition, the UEFA Champions League. In addition to having announced the new venue for this year’s final, the cities where 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 editions will be held are already known. Between 1993, the year of the first final included in the latest format of the competition, and 2024, there will be 22 stadiums from 20 cities in 14 countries that will have received the 32 finals of the competition with special emphasis on Germany with 6 editions and, in particular, for Munich with 4 finals.

When analyzing the location of the finals, we see that there is a clear preference for the countries of the so-called “Big-5” (Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1, Premier League, and Serie A). Thus, in 2024, Germany, Spain, France, England, and Italy will have received 19 of the 32 finals (59%). Regarding the remaining countries, three “peripherals” stand out: Turkey, Greece, and Portugal, with two finals.

The primacy for the 5 countries of the main European leagues is obviously not unrelated to the commercial component since they will tend to have more capacity to generate and enhance revenue through their brands, their purchasing power, the centrality in the European continent and their transport facilities.

The economic impact of the last finals

The economic impact in the cities that receive the final of the competition is fundamentally related to stays in hotels and other tourist accommodation, restaurants, other tourist activities, and other services such as security, hospitality, and sponsorships. As you can see in the graph below, the impact on cities varied between 45 million Euros in Rome in 2009 and 53 million in Cardiff more recently.

In 2011, Barcelona and Manchester United faced each other in London with the Blaugrana winning 3-1 with Pep Guardiola’s “tiki-taka” and Messi as the leader. It is estimated that the final between the two giants generated 52 million Euros and about 110 thousand people travelled to the English capital. In 2017, in Cardiff, the final between Real Madrid and Juventus generated 53 million Euros, the highest value in the finals analyzed and brought about 200 thousand people to the city.

Regarding the Lisbon final in 2014, between the Spanish teams of Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, it is estimated that the economic impact for the Portuguese capital was around 50 million Euros. According to studies carried out, it is believed that 54% of this amount (27M €) was associated with stays, 22% (11M €) with catering, 7% (3.5M €) with other tourist activities and 17% (8.5M €) to other services. Lisbon airport registered an increase of 10 thousand passengers at the weekend of the match, representing an increase of 20% compared to the usual flow and there were about 50 thousand overnight stays in Lisbon and 70 thousand visitors.

The purchasing power of fans who visit the city that hosts the final contributes to these values. As we can see in the graph below, when combining the GDP per capita of the countries of the clubs represented in the final, the Lisbon event in 2014 presents the lowest value of the last 11 editions. The 2013 final in London, between Bayern Munchen and Borussia Dortmund, had the highest value.

The cities, in addition to obtaining revenue and commercial impact in the short-term with the event, also obtain long-term dividends. 2014 final in Lisbon contributed, together with other major events that took place in recent years, such as Euro 2004, to increase the reputation of the city and the country as an organizer of major events. Thus, cities end up profiting in the long run with an increase in tourism, sponsorship, and a greater likelihood of hosting other major events.

UEFA Champions League in Portugal – What impact can we expect?

First of all, we must take into account the fact that the model in which Portugal will host the competition is totally new since, at least, there will be 7 matches in Lisbon instead of just the final. Second, we must also pay attention to the fact that the presence of the public inside the stadiums is also an unknown factor due to the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, it is important to consider that international flights are being resumed, allowing fans from the clubs to come, even in the event that they are unable to watch the matches inside the sports venues.

Thus, based on the values ​​mentioned above and two different scenarios, we present an estimate regarding the expected economic impact.

Scenario 1 – No fans at the stadiums

  • 8 teams, staff, UEFA, journalists, sponsors and some fans who move regardless of not being able to access the stadiums – 10,000 people representing 15% of the 2014 flow:
    • Stays in hotel units – 5.4 million Euros
    • Food & Beverage – 1.65 million euros
    • Other tourist activities – 0.5 million euros
    • Other services (considering being affected by only 30% due to the higher number of matches compared to 2014) – 5.95 million euros
      • Total estimated impact = 13.5 million Euros

 

Scenario 2 – Stadiums with 33% maximum capacity (in line with what is being discussed by La Liga)

  • Assuming 20,000 people per game, 10,000 allocated to each of the 8 clubs and assuming that they will also attend the semi-finals and finals if their club qualifies, it has a maximum potential of 80,000 people;
    • Stays in hotel units – 43.2 million Euros
    • Food & Beverage – 17.6 million Euros
    • Other tourist activities – 5.6 million euros
    • Other services – 13.6 million euros
      • Total estimated impact = 80 million Euros

Regardless of the estimates that can be made, it is certain that the realisation of the final stage of the UEFA Champions League will bring benefits, especially in this phase, helping to resume the hotel and food & beverage industry, the media attention and image of the country by welcoming, at least, 8 teams composed of elements with many followers and with a high market value.