Will Premier League bring economic growth to Leeds?
Dr Mike Reynolds discussed the potential economic impact of Leeds United's ascension to the Premier League on the region in a Yorkshire Post article, published on 12 September 2020.
The Yorkshire Post article highlighted the economic opportunities and potential afforded to the Yorkshire region from Sheffield and Leeds United’s Premier League positions, following the recent promotion of Leeds United to the globally followed top-tier English football league.
Dr Simon Shibli, Director of the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, emphasised that despite the clubs’ presence in the Premier League providing a platform for economic opportunity in Yorkshire, the need for a sustained Premier League presence in the region that outlasts one year of success. Dr Shibli argued that only a sustained Premier League position for Leeds and Sheffield United Football Clubs would encourage confidence of investment in the Yorkshire region, draw football tourists away from spending only in Manchester and London, and rival the North West professional football cluster.
Dr Mike Reynolds, Business School Lecturer in Economics, suggested that it was incredibly difficult to predict the exact economic impact of Leeds United’s promotion on the Leeds City region, and that the Covid-19 pandemic would mitigate any initial benefits the promotion afforded. However, Dr Reynolds was optimistic about the hope and celebrations that the success of the team has brought to many, which he suggested may encourage spending and a boost to the local economy. He commented:
I think you can't underestimate how that makes a city feel a bit more positive and I think generally if people have been a bit more positive and a bit happier they're more likely to spend money.
“And particularly in this time of Covid, where the region has been a bit down and a bit depressed about this understandably, Leeds going up is a boost, it's time to forget about Covid, forget about this situation and for people to celebrate and be happy.”
While longevity in the Premier League may be key to investment confidence in the region, the connected cities of Sheffield and Leeds offer plenty of accomodation, entertainment and vibrancy that Yorkshire tourism can seize upon, once social distancing is eased and football spectatorship can resume, according to Welcome to Yorkshire’s Chief Executive.