It was a huge summer spectacle that attracted tens of thousands of spectators.
The America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth kick-started the qualifiers for the America’s Cup 2017 finals.
The four-day sailing occasion from July 23 to 26 featured Portsmouth-based Land Rover BAR, led by Olympic sailing legend Sir Ben Ainslie, as well as five international competitors.
It was the first event in a series that leads up to the final in Bermuda in 2017.
There were hopes that the regatta could be the biggest event ever hosted by Portsmouth, although storms on the Sunday led to an entire day’s racing cancelled, and followed torrential rain on Friday which saw an evening military proms concert cancelled.
Now an economic report covering all aspects of the event – from the money visitors spent, to the benefits to the economy and the effect the weather had on the racing – has been published by analysts KPMG. It also examines the economic impact of the BAR headquarters.
Data from events firm Team Origin and surveys of businesses and spectators have been used to produce the findings. It was found spectators spent £5.9m and the benefit to the UK economy through the event was £4.3m after costs are taken into account, with £1.3m coming Portsmouth’s way and Hampshire enjoying £1.6m of benefits.
Ben Ainslie’s race team, based on the Camber in Old Portsmouth is found to have brought £3.8m to the city.
And it’s identified millions more would have come the region’s way if the weather had held out and the final day of racing had not been cancelled.
KEY SECTIONS OF THE REPORT
BUSINESSES had varying degrees of success.
Almost a third of all 49 companies surveyed reported an increase in sales of up to 25 per cent.
A further nine per cent experienced a 26 to 50 per cent increase in sales.
One business reported an increase in sales during the event of 100 to 150 per cent compared to the expected revenues without the event.
A proportion of businesses (14 per cent) reported a decrease in sales whilst the event was being held.
Ten per cent found their sales decreased between one and 25 per cent while another reported a fall in sales of between 76 per cent and 100 per cent.
While it was not expected that local businesses would take on extra permanent staff, most upped the number of their temporary staff by 20 per cent. But the increases in staff numbers were described as being ‘very modest.’
Seventeen per cent reported better sales in the week after the event. Nine per cent had a one per cent to 10 per cent uptake while six per cent experienced an 11 per cent to 25 per cent increase.
Twenty-four per cent of businesses said they would take on more temporary staff and increase their permanent staff by 10 per cent next year.
In contrast, a small proportion reported they would plan to employ fewer permanent and/or temporary staff when compared to the 2015 event.
The majority of businesses surveyed indicated that in the three months prior to Portsmouth hosting the 2015 event there was no effect on the sales of their business as a result of it.
And of the 31 per cent who reported an increase, most saw a ‘relatively modest’ increase in sales of 25 per cent or less.
VISITORS spent £5.9m during their time at the America’s Cup World Series.
Of that figure, it was estimated £1.5m would have been spent by families on other attractions in the area anyway if the event had not taken place.
This brings the total amount brought in by visitors directly through the World Series to £4.3m.
On average, spectators spent £17.22 per day in ticketed areas.
Visitors from outside the city tended to spend on average £6.11 more each day than resident spectators.
An average of £26 was spent by person outside ticketed zones. According to ticket data provided by Team Origin, a total of 248,505 spectators and attendees attended the ACWS 2015 from 23 to 26 July.
This includes all those within the ticketed area, including VIPs, the crowds watching from the shoreline, on big screens, from boats, as well as teams, contractors, exhibitors and volunteers.
Of those who had tickets, the majority were Portsmouth residents, making up 77 per cent of all ticket holders, while the remaining 23 per cent travelled from across the UK and abroad.
The majority attended the day-time racing, with the most popular day, the Saturday race day, attracting a total of 120,828 people.
Excluding VIPs, more than 168,000 tickets were sold or pre-booked.
Of the 1,485 spectators who responded to an online survey, 47 per cent spent an average of £78 per night on hotel or bed and breakfast accommodation. Twenty-eight per cent spent £3 staying with friends or family and ten per cent spent on average £20 camping or staying in a caravan.
THE America’s Cup World Series brought about £9m worth of benefits to the UK economy.
Of this money, £4.5m was spent by the World Series organisers putting on the event.
A total of £2.1m of the event team’s cash went on paying suppliers in Portsmouth, equivalent to 54 per cent overall of the money they spent.
That leaves about £4.3m which the event directly brought to the UK economy, £1.3m of which was generated in Portsmouth and £1.6m across Hampshire.
Through the hosting of the event,and spending by spectators and attendees, KPMG estimates the World Series created 175 jobs – 160 within event suppliers and other businesses and 15 as a result of employees spending a portion of their income in the UK.
However the dossier says the figures are a ‘partial picture’ of the contribution of the event.
The reason, KPMG says is because it was unable to quantify the full economic impacts of spending ‘due to data constraints.’
Data on team expenditure were ‘limited’ to accommodation and transport spend,and other daily expenditure data was ‘not available.’
Nor was data available on the spending of the hundreds of UK media personnel, exhibitors and volunteers.
Regarding press coverage, the event hosted 118 media outlets from 15 countries.
Coverage began in November 2014, when Portsmouth was announced as the host, and continued until after the end of the event in August 2015. The advertising value for the event’s exposure was £18m in the UK with an additional £4m from abroad.
POOR weather at this year’s America’s Cup World Series meant the region missed out on millions of pounds worth of extra benefits.
KPMG predict visitor spending from the event would have shot up from £5.9m to £10.2m had the last race day not been cancelled due to storms and poor weather hadn’t come in beforehand.
Of that £10.2m, it’s estimated £7.2m would have come directly from the event and the rest takes into account cash spent anyway as a result of other attractions.
And the overall benefit to the economy would have been potentially £12.2m if the sun had stayed out.
The report says: ‘...the ACWSP 2015 event took place over a weekend in which there was bad weather that resulted in lower spectator numbers on some days of the event and the cancellation of the Sunday racing.
‘The full potential economic impact of the event is, consequently, certainly higher, and possibility substantively so,than we have estimated for the event that actually took place.
‘We estimate that if all those who had pre-booked tickets had attended the ACWSP 2015, the net GVA generated through spectator spending at the ACWSP 2015 could have reached £7.5m, resulting in total GVA of the event of £12.2m.’
Excluding VIPs, over 168,000 tickets were sold or pre-booked, but actual attendance in the ticketed areas only reached 96,888 over the four days.
The shortfall between actual attendance and pre-booked tickets, says KPMG, was largely the result of the poor weather on the Friday and the Sunday racing day being cancelled and the full site having to be evacuated.
SIR BEN AINSLIE
THE presence of Sir Ben Ainslie’s race team in Portsmouth could bring nearly £100m of benefits to the region in the next two years.
KPMG estimates activity at the Olympic sailor’s headquarters up until September 2017 could pull in £96m.
And millions of pounds has already been generated thanks to the creation of the Land Rover BAR base in Old Portsmouth.
KPMG calculated that from July 2014 to July 2015, the site made £38m for the UK.
Of this, £19.2m came from Land Rover BAR’s ongoing operations preparing for the America’s Cup and another £18.5m came through the construction of the base in Old Portsmouth.
The work was supported by a £6.5m grant from the government.
The local impact Land Rover BAR has made is estimated at £3.8m in Portsmouth and £8.2m across Hampshire.
Land Rover BAR, praised for the ‘positive economic impact’ it is having on the area, has also helped to create 555 jobs - 87 of which are at the base.
Of those 87, 66 are employees and 21 are contractors.
Many of these are specialist and skilled roles, including the technical designers and specialist boat builders involved in designing, developing and building the America’s Cup catamarans.
Another 320 jobs indirect jobs have been created in Land Rover BAR’s supply chain, supported by its procurement of goods and services from local and national suppliers.
Land Rover BAR was also praised for its work with the 1851 Trust, which aims to inspire a new generation to get into the marine industry. The trust provides opportunities for young people, particularly from diverse backgrounds to participate in and take up sailing.