Rugby World Cup 2015 at Ashton Gate 'could be worth £20m'
AS much as £20 million could be injected into Bristol's economy if the city is chosen to host Rugby World Cup matches in 2015.
Ashton Gate is on a list of 17 stadia in the running to host games when the global showpiece comes to England and Wales in three years' time.
And by comparing the financial benefits of previous world cups, it is possible to calculate how much money could be coming Bristol's way if the application is successful.
Early next year, World Cup organisers will cut the list to a maximum of 12 stadia, where the 48 matches will be played.
Ashton Gate has been put forward for up to three matches, having hosted New Zealand versus Tonga the last time the tournament came to these shores back in 1999. The amount of money Bristol City FC would get for hosting matches has not yet been finalised.
When the Rugby World Cup was held in New Zealand last year Wellington, which has a population of 487,000 compared to Bristol's 428,000, hosted eight matches.
Financial experts estimated the overall economic benefit to Wellington was £53 million, or about £6.5 million per match.
If Bristol were to land the ideal scenario of three matches, that could bring about £19.5 million into the city.
Research showed that domestic visitors in Wellington stayed an average of 3.2 nights, while overseas visitors stayed five nights, providing an injection of cash into local hotels, bars and restaurants.
Bristol may also be considered as a base for one of the international teams, which could also boost tourism.
A city council spokesman confirmed tournament organisers have been informed of the city's accommodation, hotel, and training venue options.
The direct and indirect economic impact to a European host nation could be as much as £2.1 billion, according to financial experts Deloitte.
Bristol City Council leader Simon Cook said: "We're fully in support of the bid and it would be fantastic for the city if it were to be successful."
After the 2011 World Cup, the Mayor of Auckland in New Zealand, Len Brown, proclaimed the benefits for a host city: "The benefits are there for all to see, from these economic impacts to the renewed sense of pride in the city, worldwide exposure, improved transport infrastructure, upgraded sporting facilities and new developments on the waterfront."
Next year, the Rugby League World Cup will come to Bristol Rovers' Memorial Stadium when it hosts the Cook Islands versus USA.