14 April 2017
Research commissioned by BBC Radio Sheffield has revealed the World Snooker Championship has boosted Sheffield’s economy by £100m since 1977.
The annual championship has been held at the Crucible Theatre for 40 years and generates around 40,000 spectator admissions each year.
Spectators from outside Sheffield spend £1.8m in the city on accommodation, food and drink, shopping, local travel and other entertainment. Spectator spending coupled with that of the players, the media, officials and the costs of running the championship generates an annual economic impact of £2.6m.
The research, conducted by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre, shows that over the 40 years, there have been some 1.2m paid spectator admissions, with around three quarters of these by people visiting from outside Sheffield specifically to attend the snooker.
Every year the event generates more than 21,000 commercial bed-nights (in hotels, B&Bs and home rentals) in the city from visiting spectators, players, the media, and officials. Players have been known to purchase property in the city over the years; whilst some fans stay in Sheffield for the duration of the event.
The Crucible first hosted the event in 1977 with 16 players competing over 13 days for a modest top prize of £6,000. This year, the event will take place over 17 days for a top prize of £375,000.
Now, according to researchers, Sheffield is well established as the home of snooker, and is regularly named “Snooker City”. The city also receives significant broadcast exposure from The Championship, with more than 100 hours of coverage on the BBC and Eurosport – which generates an estimated place marketing value of £3.2m for the city each year.**
Peak audiences for the final in recent years have been 5-6m viewers in the UK; whilst globally The World Championship is broadcast in more than 80 countries by 23 broadcasters to an audience of 330m, giving Sheffield valuable international exposure.
Katrina Bunker, Editor of BBC Radio Sheffield, said: “Our city is understandably proud of its record in hosting one of the biggest events in the annual sporting calendar. The World Snooker Championship over the last forty years has put Sheffield firmly on the international map.
No one has detailed the financial impact over the years and along with our partners at Sheffield Hallam University we wanted to fully understand what the championship has done for the local economy. It’s especially fitting to get that research in the 40th anniversary year.”
Richard Coleman, principal researcher at Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre, said: “As we have demonstrated in our findings, the World Snooker Championship brings a significant annual boost to the Sheffield economy and has also been a great marketing vehicle for the city around the world; not least in economies such as Asia with whom the city is looking to forge links. Such benefits will be enhanced even further as this prestigious event remains at The Crucible until 2027 and its 50th anniversary in Sheffield.”
* Retrospective analysis of the World Snooker Championship conducted by Sheffield Hallam University estimates the aggregate economic impact of the event on Sheffield over the last 40 years at £71m, which, allowing for inflation equates to an impressive £100m at current prices
** Based on what such exposure would cost to purchase in the commercial marketplace
This research report, commissioned by BBC Radio Sheffield, was undertaken by the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University. It estimates the aggregated economic impact on Sheffield associated with 40 years of hosting the World Snooker Championship at The Crucible Theatre.
The SIRC team conducted eight impact studies of the Championship between 2002 and 2016; three of which included media evaluations. The findings from these studies coupled with information provided by World Snooker, Sheffield Theatres and some additional desk research have been used to model the economic impact since 1977.
Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “I’m looking forward to what is sure to be an exciting 40th anniversary year of World Snooker here in Sheffield.
“While the championship is always a huge event for the city, and is indeed one of the most important events in our major events calendar, this year will be extra special.
“Sheffield is the home of World Snooker. The championship raises the city’s profile nationally and overseas, and I look forward to this continuing for many more years to come.”