Putting Leicester on the Map

November 2016

On Thursday 24 November 2016, we hosted the event ‘DHL Business Live: Putting Leicester on the Map’ at Leicester’s own King Power Stadium.

When Leicester City won the 2015/2016 Premier League title this spring, it made headlines around the world. People were suddenly interested in a city that previously was mostly known as the final resting place of King Richard III – and companies from Leicester reported a boost in business.

Simon Capper, Finance Director at Leicester City Football Club, David Mullen, EY’s Expert on the Economic Impact of Football, and Neil Kuschel, VP of Sales at DHL, discussed the change in how Leicester is perceived (and how to make the most of this new role) as part of a panel moderated by David Simms, Managing Director of the Leicester Mercury.

David Simms gave an overview of Leicester City’s amazing success, as well as the city’s other strengths: “Leicester is growing in confidence” with its reputation as the resting place of King Richard III, home to three universities, and a space centre.

In an introductory video, several local businesses gave an overview of how Leicester City’s win has helped them. Tajinder Banwait from Urban Apothecary said “Suppliers who hadn’t heard of Leicester before suddenly know a lot more about it.”

Peter Moore stated that when his business, Guidance Automation, visits international conferences, people who come to the booth and find out they’re from Leicester will “immediately start talking about football. Instead of what could have been a shorter conversation, they want to speak to you; they’re interested.”

The panel then discussed the impact that the Leicester City’s success had, emotionally as well as financially.

David Mullen talked about how the impact from the Premier League win isn’t just about numbers – “it’s about starting conversations with football fans.” He mentioned that the Premier League is watched by 900 million homes in 190 countries and highlighted China as a market where you have 350 million homes engaging with the Leicester brand. “Leicester resonates now.”

Neil Kuschel emphasised that the Premier League win has meant that “Leicester has become a brand – it’s no longer just a place name.” He talked about how events such as the Olympic Games, the royal wedding and babies, and even discussions around Brexit have all ensured that Brand Britain is heavily discussed around the world, providing an additional boost to Leicester. Neil Kuschel’s advice to Leicester businesses: “Use that recognition now – there’s a growing middle class around the world that wants to buy your goods and services. You talk about Asia, China and India, and these countries mad on football. So now that they know you guys it puts your foot in the door. It’s a fantastic opportunity.”

David Mullen gave an overview of the tangible benefits that Leicester City’s win provided. In 2015, EY looked at how sporting success drives commercial success, specifically how it matters if a club is successful or not. The company found that there’s a cycle of growth: once clubs start to invest, they attract more diverse crowds, and more people start watching on TV and the money brought it in then can be distributed to the clubs. The clubs then reinvest this money in players and the stadium – and the cycle starts again.

The more successful clubs are, the more they are able to put money back in the economy, and the more visitors they’re able to attract money through the hospitality sector and elsewhere.
Looking at Leicester City for last season, EY calculated around £140m gross value exclusively came into Leicester as a result of the Premier League win. This supported 2,500 jobs and brought in £78 million in tax receipts from the players as well as other expenditure.
Most importantly, 120,000 additional visitors came to Leicester, bringing in business for the hotels and restaurants. These visitors spent around £7 million, and a large proportion of this revenue went to local business owners.

David Mullen emphasised that there are also wider effects: “People buy people, and if you can connect on a human level, you’re giving yourself a huge advantage. Something as simple as football can make a big difference to local businesses.”

Asked how he felt about the club boosting the region as a whole, Simon Capper emphasised that being part of the community is very important. He stressed that the club owners are from Thailand, which means that when the club and trophy toured Bangkok, millions of people came to see them: “The brand recognition for Leicester in Thailand is now unbelievable.”
Simon Capper further focused on his commitment to work with local businesses as well as ongoing work with the local university and the police to be part of that community, and that local sourcing place a large role.

Tajinder Banwait too emphasised the tangible benefits of increased sales since winning the league and concluded “It’s a great time to be in business.”

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