THE biggest sporting event in Wales this year starts in Cardiff today with organisers confident of it providing a significant boost for the economy.
The world’s top eight cricket teams are competing for the ICC Champions Trophy, with the home of Glamorgan Cricket Club in Cardiff one of the tournament’s three venues
Glamorgan’s chief executive, Alan Hamer, said: “We are staging five matches at the stadium. The first game today is a sell-out between India and South Africa,
“Tickets are selling well. We are expecting five top games of cricket, and the weather is looking good.”
The other games at Cardiff include England versus New Zealand on June 16, and one of the semi-finals on June 20.
When Cardiff staged the first Ashes Test in 2009, it is estimated there was an additional economic output of £4.6m with local hotels, restaurants and other businesses directly benefiting from a spend of £4m.
Mr Hamer stressed that the economic impact of staging such events goes beyond the direct contribution made by paying fans.
He said: “Once again, the eyes of the sporting world will be on Cardiff for these matches.
“The India game will be bigger than the Ashes Test in 2009.
“The media attendance for that game is going to be huge, bigger than 2009. There are more than 930 million cricket fans in the world, including more than 800 million in India.
“Worldwide media coverage generates the potential for increased visits from people around the world wanting to sample South Wales,
“A successful event also demonstrates that Cardiff can, and continues to, deliver major international events. This allows for a greater bargaining power when trying to attract other projects of a similar nature.”
Mr Hamer said the club was guaranteed to make a profit from the event because of the way it is commercially structured.
He added: “It’ll be a relatively high six-figure profit as a minimum, but our expectation has always been to make a seven- figure profit and we are on track to do that.”