Manchester counts cost of Champions League exit

Wayne Rooney leaves the pitch after Manchester United are knocked out of the Champions League
Image caption The disappointment at Champions League failure is not restricted to the players

Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini are not the only people in Manchester disappointed at the failure of the city's two clubs to progress to the group stage of the Champions League.

Double qualification was the result the city's business community was hoping for - as Champions League football means a major economic windfall for the city.

For modern football clubs, the Champions League is a gold mine, and as Paul Simpson, managing director of Visit Manchester, explained there is a marked spin-off for the city from success on the field.

Tourism already generates £5.4bn for Greater Manchester annually, supporting the equivalent of 75,000 full-time jobs - and European football success is a major factor, according to Mr Simpson.

"Football is very much a part of Manchester's DNA. From a tourism point of view, I can't stress enough the benefits that UEFA Champions League fixtures bring to Manchester," he said.

"They attract thousands of extra visitors to the city and provide a much valued boost to the city's hotels, restaurants and bars.

"It also helps to raise our profile with international visitors that might not have been to Manchester before."

Visit Manchester data says that the average overseas football fan will spend £776 in the city.

Image caption Manchester United and Manchester City are facing a future in the less lucrative Europa League

Even non-competitive fixtures have a financial benefit - 98% of the city's hotel beds were taken on the day of former Manchester United player Paul Scholes' testimonial earlier this year.

The last time United did not progress beyond the group stages of the competition was in 2005-6, causing heartbreak for fans and hoteliers alike.

Stephen Miller, chair of the Manchester Hoteliers Association, said at that time there was a marked drop in hotel bookings.

Although as chief economist at Manchester Chamber of Commerce Dr Brian Sloan points out, this time round both clubs are still in the Europa League.

And European football is still generating money for the city in other ways.

Manchester is currently the host city of the Soccerex European Forum, Europe's leading football business event, which took place in 2009, 2010, 2011 and and is scheduled to host the forum again next year.

According to Visit Manchester, each event generates between £1.5m to £2.5m for the city economy.

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