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Why football is more than just a game

There is nothing quite like a big sporting event to bring the town together.

Whether it be on a local level, such as when we took 32,000 to Wembley in 1997, 42,000 to the same venue in 1998 or 24,000 to the new national stadium last May, the Saints recent visit to Twickenham, the Steelbacks success at Edgbaston last summer, or the football World Cup, a sporting event can unite the community like nothing else.

Over the next few weeks, the World Cup in Brazil will dominate the sporting agenda.

“Don’t underestimate the power of a feelgood factor generated by a sporting event on the local economy”

We will see England flags hanging out of bedroom windows, decking out cars and fluttering from business premises as Northamptonshire and the rest of the country support Roy Hodgson’s men, and while the World Cup is clearly a passion for millions, don’t underestimate the power of a feelgood factor generated by a sporting event on the local economy.

Indeed, the Northampton Chronicle & Echo say they can see peaks and troughs in their readership based on the success or otherwise of the Cobblers more than any other factor. One of their biggest ever circulation days was the day after Northampton Town won at Anfield in the League Cup in September 2010.

Their ‘Kop that’ headline went around the world as fans rushed to newsagents to secure a souvenir copy. Of course, more visitors to newsagents means more sales of other items in addition to the newspapers and you can already see how quickly business can snowball from a good news sporting story.

The football World Cup, played during the British summer, is more of an international event of course, but there are still benefits for local businesses.

The restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs see a spike in trade around every England game, and they more than most, will be hoping England progress as far as possible in the tournament, meaning more games to pack out their premises as thirsty fans watch the action on big screens.

“There are still benefits for local businesses”

A recent survey also showed a definite link between a feelgood factor, generated by the success of the local or national football team, and local productivity.

The theory goes that if you turn up to work on a Monday morning in a good mood after the Cobblers had won the previous Saturday, you will get more work done than someone sulking in a bad mood after a defeat.

Let’s hope the Northampton businesses are experiencing a big surge in productivity during week commencing July 14th, having seen Steven Gerrard lift the famous trophy a few days before. Of course, the flip side of any England success leading to increased productivity might be a day lost to hangovers first, but hopefully that is a price worth paying to see the Three Lions lift the World Cup!

Come on England, on behalf of football fans and businesses up and down the land!

Gareth Willsher is head of media at Northampton Town Football Club. You can see their profile page on the Chamber website or visit:http://www.ntfc.co.uk/ for further info.

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