World Cup impact report highlights rise of cricket tourism

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has said the 2019 World Cup generated a total economic impact for the UK of almost £350m (€400.8m/$447.4m), adding that the figures demonstrate the rise of cricket tourism.

England and Wales hosted last year’s edition of the ICC’s showpiece national team tournament, with England triumphing against New Zealand in a hugely dramatic final at Lord’s in London. The event took place from May 30 to July 14, taking in the host cities of London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton, Durham, Bristol, Taunton and Cardiff.

The findings of an economic impact and benefits analysis carried out on behalf of the ICC by The Sports Consultancy agency show that the tournament generated almost £350m of economic impact through additional money spent in the host economy by event visitors and organisers, as well as business to business supplier contracts and broader consumer spend.

London, which also hosted games at the Kia Oval, attracted the most direct economic impact of £129.3m, whilst semi-final venues Manchester (Emirates Old Trafford) and Birmingham (Edgbaston) attracted a direct economic impact of £65.3m and £53.4m, respectively.

Total attendance for the tournament stood at 752,000, with 320,000 of these fans being of Southeast Asian descent. The ICC said the World Cup drew 61,000 unique international spectators, while 150,000 attendees were female and 100,000 aged under 16.

Fanzones across England and Wales drew 310,000 visitors, while more than half a million bed nights were generated with an income of £46.5m thanks to almost 650,000 out of town spectators.

ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said: “The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 was an outstanding success across all measures which is further underlined by this report and the significant contribution of £350m it has brought to the UK economy. This makes it one of the biggest sporting events in the UK in recent history.

“ICC events provide a wonderful platform to connect more deeply with a diverse audience of hundreds of millions of fans and to aggregate audiences like never before even in our increasingly fragmented world.

“The rise of cricket tourism is clearly demonstrated with almost 20% of attendees coming from overseas and a total of 85% of ticket buyers coming from out of town with cricket fans increasingly prepared to travel to support their team. We expect this trend to continue to rise as the Asian sub-continent continues rapid economic growth.”

The ICC has released the report after recently issuing its tournament hosting rights tender for the broadcast rights cycle spanning 2023 to 2031. India will host the next edition of the World Cup in 2023.

Sawhney added: “We are currently in the process of getting expressions of interest from our members to host future events post 2023 as part of our ambitions to grow the game globally. This report clearly demonstrates staging ICC events not only provides our host countries with the opportunity to showcase the very best they have to offer to an enormous global audience they are also a major global driver for social, cultural and economic impact.”