Written by Raj Birring
Business Expansion Specialist

£170million…sounds a lot of money to be at stake on the result of a football match. But that’s the minimum financial reward, staggered over three years, for the winners of the Championship play-off Final. Deloittes Sports Business Group calls it ‘the most lucrative prize in football’ - and you can see why so many Championship teams take huge financial risks in order to gain entry to football's most exclusive club. This year it was our turn - as Nottingham Forest finally returned back to the Premier League, after 23 years in the football wilderness.

There’s no doubt that Premier League football can have a huge economic impact on the local region – estimated at £120m through associated activity such as visitor spend, job creation and merchandise sales. However it’s the huge international boost that a city receives from Premier League football than can go overlooked. The global aspect can often be harder to measure, but what we do know is that next season Nottingham Forest, and therefore our city, will be broadcast into 900million homes across 190 countries. This exposure led to 540,000 international visitors coming to the UK to watch Premier League football in 2019/20, spending £442million across regional cities, mostly outside of the peak tourism season. In comparison domestic away fans totalled 650,000 – but their total visit spend was significantly lower at £16million.  

But its the ‘soft power’ that the Premier League is able to wield that can really help to enhance how a city is viewed, with ‘87% of global fans that are interested in the Premier League saying that it makes them feel more positively about the UK’. There’s no question that the Premier League has been a significant force in helping raise UK international awareness, leading to Portland’s 2019 Soft Power Report ranking the UK second only to France and acknowledging the League as ‘clearly a boon for British soft power’.

Global premier league football exposure can deliver city brand recognition on an international level that will help to reinforce Nottingham’s brand reputation. Many people across the world will already be aware of Nottingham because of past sporting successes and a certain heroic outlaw. But promotion to the Premier League will engage us with future generations, connect the city to future global business decision makers, attract future international students and ensure that we can thrive in a globalised economy.




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