City will be boosted by Norwich’s Premier League return

Norwich City's return to the Premier League could be worth as much as �90m to the club, but the whole city will benefit from top flight football, academics and business bosses have said.

The Canaries sealed promotion with a 1-0 victory at Portsmouth on Monday night, completing a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of a club which just 20 months ago were rooted at the foot of League One.

For a club which has more than �20m in debts, the promised land of the Premier League will help bring financial security.

But experts say the city itself will also benefit, with the increased profile the club will enjoy nationally and internationally boosting businesses and bringing more visitors to Norwich.

Prof Tom Cannon, a football finance expert from the University of Liverpool, said: 'We're in a situation where the primary source of funding for football clubs these days is TV money and for coming second in the Championship Norwich can probably expect to receive between �5m to �6m for this season.

'The TV money has been cut for next year, but even if Norwich were to come bottom of the Premiership, you are still looking at something like �40m.

'And after relegation teams get millions of pounds in parachute payments, so even teams which go up and have a bad season have done well out of it.'

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In January, chief executive David McNally told shareholders he believed a season in the Premiershop would be worth �90m to the club and rubbished the idea promotion would be 'too soon' this season.

Record numbers of fans have already snapped up season tickets for the next campaign and Mr McNally has previously indicated that the club could look to expand Carrow Road this summer.

But if that happens it is unlikely to be an extra tier on one of the stands at this stage and more likely to be extra seats in existing stands.

Prof Cannon said if a way could be found to increase attendances by an average 5,000 that could net an extra �5m over a Premier League season.

He added there were increased opportunities for merchandising and sponsorship. He said: 'For clubs like Blackpool, Hull and Burnley, which have not had a history in the top flight, they have seen big increases in sponsorship. Norwich have been there before so it probably won't be as significant for them, but you're probably still talking about a couple of million.'

Without expansion, there is not much scope for increased attendances at Carrow Road, but where Norwich is concerned the city will be able to 'sell itself' to a new set of fans.

Prof Cannon said: 'The big change since Norwich were last in the Premiership is that cities have become much more aware of the benefits the global exposure of the Premier League can bring.

'Hull did a pretty good job of raising its profile when they were up there and Blackpool has brought in more tourists too - I've heard the figure of up to 500,000 more has been quoted.

'Norwich is a beautiful city and has a well-established tourism industry. It's not the same as Blackpool but I don't see why, if they get the marketing right, it can't bring in a similar number of tourists.

'When Norwich were last in the Premier League, David Beckham hadn't gone to the USA, so there's new opportunities there and in China and India to attract business.'

Caroline Williams, chief executive of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, agreed new opportunities would be opened up. She said: 'It's great news at a time when it's still a challenging time for business. Pay rises are being frozen and there are redundancies in the public sector, but this will lift people's spirits.

'When people are in a positive frame of mind they quite often find solutions to problems and from a business point of view, confidence is essential to success.

'If a business is confident its likely to be more successful and to take the risks which can make them more successful.'

She the success of the Canaries would put Norwich and Norfolk 'on the map' and said: 'It's really important for exporters because the people they are dealing with might watch Premiership football and know all about Norwich as a result.

'It helps put us on the international map and that can make it easier to do business. If they see Norwich as having a successful football team that's good for business.'

Laura McGillivray, chief executive of Norwich City Council, said it was an 'enormous boost' for the economy of the city.

She said: 'A Premier League profile will give Norwich national and international exposure and has the potential to increase visitor numbers, attract investors and create job opportunities.

'Local hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and bars, cafes and restaurants will particularly benefit from the capacity attendances at Carrow Road and the expected increase in the number of visitors and holiday-makers. But the benefits of this success for the Canaries will be felt by everyone in the city.'

Simon Wright, Norwich South MP, said: 'It adds to our prestige and puts us in the national spotlight. It will deliver an all round boost to the local economy, and adds to the perception of Norwich as a serious player. That's why even non-football fans should be delighted by this achievement.'

• Visit www.pinkun.com for the latest news from Carrow Road.

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