UEFA Champions League loss is bad for Real Madrid; better for Madrid economy
March 12, 2010
Although most residents would gladly trade in increased economic benefits for a berth for their beloved Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final May 22nd in the host city of Madrid, that dream died Wednesday.
Heavily-favoured Real Madrid, which spent more than $245 million US in transfer fees for Cristiano Ronaldo ($145.2 M to Manchester United) and Kaka ($100.6 M to AC Milan) – and overall poured more than $300 million into its roster -- with a view to winning the UEFA Champions League at home, tied Lyonnaise Olympique 1-1 Wednesday night in Madrid. That gave the French side a 2-1 aggregate victory and advancement to the quarter-finals next month.
Instead, two other clubs will square off at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid. That is heart-breaking news for fans of Real Madrid but potentially heart-warming in economic terms for the city and the country of Spain. It means more visitors to the city, more hotel rooms and more restaurant and bar tabs than if only one out-of-market club visited Madrid for the UEFA Champions League final.
Although it will not see the windfalls of $97 million to $165 million respectively earned by runner-up Manchester United and champion FC Barcelona at last year’s final, Real Madrid will not be entirely shut out economically from the final May 22nd – the club owns the host stadium and has a rental and revenue-sharing deal with UEFA.
Yet the final – arguably the third most important tournament final in global soccer and the most important annual championship match which is expected to draw more than 150 million viewers in Europe alone – will now spin off more economic benefits than if Real Madrid reached the final.
Last year’s UEFA Champions League final created an economic impact of more than 300 million euros or more than $450 million US, according to a report by UEFA sponsor MasterCard.
The windfall for 2009 host city Rome – which showcased two visiting clubs -- was upwards of 45 million euros or almost $70 million US.