Cardiff City gained promotion to the Premier League on Tuesday evening following a 51 year absence from the top flight. The promotion comes just three years after Cardiff avoided a Winding Up Order in relation to an unpaid tax bill in what was the Welsh club’s fifth visit to the High Court in seven months. Since then more than £60 million has been injected into the club by Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan and the club have changed their kit colour from their traditional blue to red. Along with local rivals Swansea City, the promotion also means that two Welsh teams will play in the top-flight of English football.
Initial indications suggest that Cardiff’s promotion will have an immense impact in terms of boosting the Welsh economy and generating employment. By way of comparison, Swansea’s first season in the Premier League generated approximately £58 million for the Welsh economy and up to 500 new jobs in local hotels, restaurants and other establishments. The Swans have now firmly established themselves as a Premier League outfit and lifted the Capital One Cup this season meaning that they will play European football in the 2013-14 season, an achievement that will further boost the Welsh economy and serve to enhance tourism in the area.
Some sports finance experts are already suggesting that Cardiff’s promotion could far surpass the figures achieved by their Welsh counterparts Swansea. The uniqueness of Cardiff being the sole top flight representative of a capital city which possesses an international airport mean that initial estimations are that the promotion could generate up to 3,000 new jobs and Â£120 million for the Welsh economy. The promotion could not have arrived at a better time with the massive new TV deal with Sky coming into force next season worth around £3 billion over 3 years. Cardiff’s promotion also coincides with councillors’ plans for the largest expansion of the Welsh capital in 50 years. 45,000 new homes will be built by 2026 and there are advanced arrangements in place to massively enhance the city’s transport systems. Cardiff Council’s cabinet member for sport Huw Thomas and Vincent Tan are already in discussions as to how to maximise the promotion for both the football club and the city as a whole.
Next season will also witness a fiercely contested Welsh derby which will undoubtedly be televised across the globe. The advent of the two clubs in the Premier League will benefit Wales from not only a tourism perspective but also a business perspective. Suggestions are that tens of millions of visitors will head to the Welsh capital on an annual basis. Tycoon owner Vincent Tan has already stated that around £25 million will be spent on new players in the hope of establishing Cardiff in the top-flight in a similar manner to Swansea.
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