Crowds of football fans flocking to Sunderland’s World Cup FanZones have helped bring £750k into the city, a meeting has heard.
Head of business operations at Sunderland’s Business Improvement District (BID), Sharon Appleby, revealed the figures to councillors this week when discussing recent city events.
During the England team’s World Cup journey, the BID-organised fanzones in Low Row and Park Lane saw thousands of fans gather for big screen viewings of the games.
Sunderland City Council’s Economic Prosperity Scrutiny Committee heard the fanzones were regularly packed to the brim with the 2,500-capacity filled at each event.
This included people watching on the 20-foot big screens and the added boost of fans flocking into bars and restaurants
Across six games up to the Croatia semi-final, around 15,000 football fans turned out to the public events, councillors at Sunderland Civic Centre heard.
Based on every fan spending around £50 in the city, Ms Appleby explained, the events gave Sunderland’s economy a £750,000 boost.
“It was more successful than we could have possibly imagined.
“It just had the buzz and vibrancy, there was no trouble and the police were amazing. It was like derby day every day there was a game”.
The BID currently represents 430 out of the 800 businesses in Sunderland who pay a levy towards improving the city creating a £660k-a-year pot.
BID backed events have included the city’s pop-up ice rink, Alice in Wonderland-themed ‘Festival of Fun’, Sunniside Live, Chinese New Year and Restaurant Week.
A ballot with city businesses is expected to take place later this year to decide if the BID will continue for the next five years.
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