Exclusive: How Leeds United's Premier League survival will impact local economy

Leeds United retained their Premier League status in dramatic fashion on Sunday afternoon. Here, we discuss how their survival will help the City's local economy.

During the 2019/20 Premier League campaign, the competition contributed £7.6billion to the country's GDP. 

During that same season, a total of £3.6billion was paid in taxes by the league and its clubs. There were also a total of 94,000 jobs supported by the organisation.

Considering the Premier League's financial footprint on the nation, it's unquestionable that clubs have an impact on their local economies. 

Leeds is a growing economic powerhouse on the map of the UK, and in 2020 the city finally earned Premier League status as Marcelo Bielsa's team won promotion.

The Yorkshire side have now confirmed a third season in the top flight after a dramatic win against Brentford on the final day.

Here, we speak with Dr. Mike Reynolds, who is a Teaching Fellow in Economics at the University of Leeds, about how the club's Premier League status will impact the local economy.

Does the Premier League status of a club have a major impact on the local economy?

"I think that's a very important question. I was thinking back to the Haaland transfer to Manchester City - the agent fee was £40million. That's £40million that doesn't go out to the local area, it doesn't go to football either, so you do think about the impact and what it means.

"You do ponder how much Leeds contribute to the local economy. Leeds will probably have less revenue next year if they go down. That means they will have to tighten somewhere.

"That probably means some people will lose their jobs. Nobody wants to lose their job and that could have an impact on the local economy.

"For those people who don't have work, there is a multiplying effect. If they don't have money then they spend less in their local economy. That would add up overtime."

What is the impact of visitors when a club competes in the Premier League vs the Championship?

Leeds United Elland Road football ground

"Initially you think, go to the Premier League, full stadiums, everyone's coming along. But this is Elland Road, it's Leeds. It gets packed out week in anyway. In the Championship, they'll still have huge gates.

"Maybe what you don't get is the media. So you don't get the media staying in the hotels, and that coverage and that exposure. But I still think the city will be buzzing on a matchday. People will still be coming here and spending money. You still get those away fans.

"It's still Leeds United, you're still going to have a packed stadium. I think it's just round the edges, it's those people who will probably lose their jobs. But I don't think on a matchday, the experience in the Championship changes that much. Apart from the media stuff. That's the one thing I wonder about.

"If you've got a set of fans who are really happy, they are more likely to spend money on a matchday. Maybe there's a bit of that. So if Leeds go down, but they're winning games, I think you'll have that buoyant atmosphere, that feel good factor gets people to spend. If they go down and don't do so well, that's when I start to worry that the stadium won't be so full."

How crucial is that 'feel good factor'?

"If Leeds go down and they do well, then I think that's going to be ok in terms of maintaining matchday revenue, matchday feeling around the city and spending around the city. But if they go down and don't do so well, it could spiral.

"But Leeds have a faithful, I don't think you'll ever get really low attendances at Elland Road. There will be some people who stop going and stop hanging around in the city.

"It's important that if Leeds go down, they bounce straight back up in terms of the local economy. Which is by no means guaranteed. But I think that is the important thing in terms of maintaining that feel good factor and people wanting to come to the city to see a successful club. That's still possible in the Championship."

READ MORE: Leeds and Burnley urge Premier League to investigate Everton’s financial losses

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