THE Portsmouth region has banked close to £40m thanks to Sir Ben Ainslie’s sailing empire and this year’s America’s Cup World Series event, The News can reveal.
A new dossier into the work of the Olympian’s Land Rover BAR team reveals it has brought £33.2m worth of economic benefits to the city and wider area in the last 12 months.
Land Rover BAR has made a long term commitment to Portsmouth and the UK. The team intends to continue to operate from its base there for the foreseeable future.Audit firm KPMG
And £6.6m was generated for the region by this year’s America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, which attracted 141,806 spectators, bringing this year’s total benefits from Sir Ben and the qualifying round of the elite sailing competition to £39.8m.
And in a boost for Portsmouth and its growing aspirations, the sailing legend’s Camber-based side has pledged to stay in the city for years to come and cement its legacy.
The 46-page report, put together by audit firm KPMG, says: ‘Land Rover BAR has made a long-term commitment to Portsmouth and the UK.
‘The team intends to continue to operate from its base there for the foreseeable future.’
It adds that Land Rover BAR and city World Series organisers Team Origin ‘seek to achieve longer-term economic impacts’ – and ‘by attracting new visitors and media interest, the aim is for Portsmouth to gain additional exposure to wider international and domestic markets, leading to increased tourism and business for the local area going forward.’
The 2015 Portsmouth World Series pulled in bigger numbers – total visitor numbers went from 248,505 that year down to 141,806 this summer.
The Saturday race day this time attracted 63,666 Solent viewers, compared to 120,828 in 2015.
The economic benefit dropped from £9m to £6.6m – but that takes the combined economic effect of both events to £15.6m.
Total visitor spend fell from £4.3m to £1.7m. This year’s event was also scaled back and Southsea Common became a free area for families following complaints about the organisation of the larger spectacle, which included an evening concert featuring McBusted, Carly Rae Jepsen and Spandau Ballet that created ticketing problems.
But the report celebrates that Land Rover BAR has now put a total of £70m back into the UK economy since its birth in 2014 – and that’s expected to soar to £98m by the end of the America’s Cup finals in Bermuda next year.
Portsmouth’s Tory culture boss, Councillor Linda Symes, welcomed the findings.
Cllr Symes said: ‘When you look at the impact these great events have on the city, it’s great to see that using the wonderful assets we have, the common and our great waterfront, is the way forward to revitalising our city, and making it a must-visit destination.’