Prudential RideLondon Bob Martin

Major events add more than £600m to London economy each year

A new report by London and Partners and Hatch shows that major events add more than £600 million to London’s economy every year.

The figures reveal the total contribution of all major events between 2017 and 2020, which is estimated to represent an injection of £2.51 billion to the London economy. This includes £2.27 billion generated by visitor spend on accommodation and non-accommodation expenses such as food and drink, as well as an estimated £238 million spent by event organisers.

The report estimates that every visit to a concert and cultural event generated on average £23 to the London economy, while each visit to a sporting event injected on average £42. With one in seven Londoners working in the hospitality industry, major events are vital in getting  people back to work and helping to support London’s recovery.

The Impact of Major Events on London’s Economy captures data from many once-in-a-lifetime events that happened in the last four years.

The biggest event captured in the new report was the IAAF World Championships and World Para Athletics Championships in 2017, which brought in £107 million to the London economy. The 20-day event saw more than one million tickets issued to watch more than 3,100 athletes compete in more than 375 track and field and long-distance events.

NFL’s London Games have increased in number and popularity since the first ever non-US game was played at Wembley in 2007. Four games were played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Wembley in 2019 creating a direct economic benefit of £6.1 million. Free events for all ran alongside the games at iconic locations like Regents Street and Piccadilly Circus. The NFL’s London Games are set to return in October 2021.

Beyond sport, London hosts many cultural events that appeal to the whole family. The Lumiere London attracted 1.5 million visitors in four days in 2018 with a direct economic benefit of £5.7 million.

As coronavirus restrictions continue to ease, Visit London, the Mayor of London, and the city’s tourism and hospitality industry are backing a £7 million campaign, called Let’s Do London, to encourage UK visitors to rediscover their capital city. The campaign will feature a series of pop-up events, public art installations and cultural activities hosted across central London.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “London is a world-leading city of sport, music and culture with a long history of putting on some of the best events watched across the globe. With iconic backdrops and a range of state-of-the-art sports stadiums, venues, cultural institutions and green spaces, there is no better city in the world to host a major event.

“Major events are the heartbeat of our city and the return of these events will provide a much-needed boost to the city’s economy following the pandemic.”

Georgina Warren, director, major events and city experience at London and Partners, said: “Major events not only inject billions of pounds worth of visitor spend, they also bring people together and position London favourably on the global stage. They are the backdrop to memories that last a lifetime and that shared experience that we’ve all missed so much in the last year.

“London audiences are passionate eventgoers and we’ve missed the buzz and excitement of major events in our city. As restrictions continue to lift, we are seeing lots of interest for sporting, cultural and music events to be hosted in London and it’s fantastic to see a great line-up of events already set to take place over the coming months. Whether you are a spectator or an event organiser, there is no better destination for a major event and London is very much open and looking forward to welcoming you back.”

Christopher Halpin, NFL executive vice president – chief strategy and growth officer, said: “The London Games series has become a highlight of the NFL calendar since 2007 and an established part of the UK sporting landscape. As well as operating in world-class stadia, we have been able to stage large-scale events in iconic locations, enjoyed long-term partnerships with outstanding hotels and practice facilities, and worked closely with transportation, health and police services. We are very pleased to be returning to London with two games at Tottenham Hotspur in October and we look forward to many more years of working with London to bring the excitement of our sport to the UK and to strengthen our ties to local communities.”

The full report can be found here.

Image: Prudential RideLondon/Bob Martin