The city of Edinburgh is bracing for a capital boon as thousands of European Rugby Champions and Challenge Cup Final fans roll into town next weekend (Friday 12 and Saturday 13 May) for the climax of the professional club rugby calendar.
Last year’s finals in Lyon generated a direct economic impact of more than €15 million and a total economic impact of over €20 million, placing the back-to-back finals in the comparative context of an NFL International Series match in London or RBS 6 Nations test match.
This impact is generated by various groups, including spectators, sponsors, media and the broadcast of the matches to 4.1m viewers in 95 countries around the globe, as well as the tournament organisers and teams themselves.
Analysis of last year’s finals in Lyon showed that over 54,000 non-local supporters were in the city across the two finals, on top of 11,900 other attendees, requiring more than 40,500 bed-night’s accommodation and millions of Euros (an average of €165 / Champions Cup spectator) in additional spend on food and beverage, groceries, travel, shopping and leisure.
Ten of thousands of rugby and event fans (two-thirds of whom are currently coming from outside Scotland) from 44 different countries have already snapped up tickets to the two finals at BT Murrayfield Stadium – more than double the total in Lyon (20) – with the city anticipating a wealth of knock-on expenditure in a capital economy that already benefits from capacity crowds for rugby test matches every year.
Dominic McKay, Scottish Rugby Chief Operating Officer, said: “We're very proud of our stadium, BT Murrayfield, and the role it plays in the health of Edinburgh and Scotland’s economy and our ability to attract world-class events to the capital that help us to invest our growing revenue into grassroots rugby across the country.
“The European finals will bring a unique festival of rugby to the city over the course of weekend of 12/13 May and I’d encourage all fans of big events and sporting occasions to get involved in the big match atmosphere in the stadium and the city centre fan-zone.”
The event also recognised a significant social impact – with almost 80% of spectator respondents who did not live in Lyon would recommend it as a holiday destination.
EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, is supporting Scottish Rugby to deliver the event in Edinburgh.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “The European finals are one of the great club rugby weekends and Edinburgh is the perfect stage for the event. Events play a significant role is Scotland’s visitor economy and EventScotland is proud to be supporting Scottish Rugby to bring the event to our capital city.
“Visitors coming to Edinburgh over the weekend of the finals will not only experience a fantastic rugby atmosphere in the city and the stadium but will also have the chance to take in some of the wonderful culture and heritage on offer throughout the city and surrounding areas, including Edinburgh Castle, Royal Yacht Britannia, plus many, many more.”