World cup glory could spark spending spree

Jennifer Lowe

June 8, 2006

However, businesses may feel the strain as workers’ distraction could severely affect productivity.

Any extra spending following a home victory would initially be likely linked to celebrations, England replica shirts and even World Cup memorabilia. The general feel good factor could then have positive knock on effects across the economy, and non-related sectors may also benefit from any upturn in expenditure. However, the eight matches which England need to win to be crowned world champions could end up costing the UK £1.26 billion* through absent or distracted workers.

This figure includes the cost of fans shying away from work at key times to watch matches live, but also reduced productivity as the tournament unfolds, through office chat about the state of players fitness, controversial incidents and England’s chances of success.

Maurice Fitzpatrick, a senior tax manager at Grant Thornton, commented, “The effect on consumers and business of England winning the World Cup are potentially enormous. The boost of winning will likely see consumers feeling content and optimistic, a mood which often leads to increase in spending.”

However, Fitzpatrick added, “Many businesses will underestimate the effect on productivity of the World Cup. The news that matches will be aired live on the internet could mean that this tournament will see record falls in productivity. Even an early knockout for England would not prevent such losses, with interest focusing on the remaining teams.”

One definite winner, will be Scotsman Gordon Brown. The Chancellor can expect a boost in revenues as the tournament will see higher than average consumption of alcohol and cigarettes as well as a peak in those betting on matches. He will also get a tax slice of any win bonuses the English players are eligible for, upto a reported £300,000 per man if they manage to win the World Cup.

How England’s path to the final could cost UK plc: (all times are BST)

Group stages

England v Paraguay, Saturday June 10, 2pm

England v Trinidad & Tobago, Thursday June 15, 5pm

England v Sweden, Tuesday June 20, 8pm

If England are knocked out after the Group Stages, losses to business in productivity will be minimal, with only the match against Trinidad & Tobago possibly impacting on conventional work time.

Second Round match (possibly against Germany) Saturday or Sunday June 24/ 25

This will be on either a Saturday or Sunday, so impact on office workers will be low, though retailers may notice fewer shoppers than normal.

Quarter Final (possibly against Argentina) Friday June 30, 4pm.

Possibly the biggest disruption of the whole tournament. A match at this time may persuade many employers to allow staff to leave work early for the match and a long weekend.

Semi Final (possibly against France) Tuesday July 4th, 8pm

The biggest match since England reached the same stage in 1990, could lead to many fans trying to leave work early. Any win could mean a long night of celebrations and more possible absences the next morning.

Final (possibly against Brazil) Sunday July 9th, 8pm

If England do reach the final, there is likely to be a spurt of demand for replica kits, flags and informal gatherings to share the moment with family and friends. A win could also lead to calls for a possible Bank Holiday.

Sign up to our daily email