By Claire West
Businesses would benefit from a £3.2 billion cash bonanza and morale would be boosted with a World Cup in England in 2018, according to a major survey of bosses.
The findings come in new research undertaken by energy firm npower, which the England 2018 Bid team announced today as an Official Sponsor of England's World Cup Bid.
More than 82% of bosses polled believe a World Cup would be great for business, with 55% saying it will deliver major financial benefit, while 63% say it would boost morale.
England 2018 states that the tournament could bring a £3.2 billion cash injection to England, with much of this likely to benefit small businesses such as pubs, hotels, restaurants and retailers. FIFA will make the decision on which country hosts the 2018 World Cup in December.
npower is now calling on its customers to get behind the bid and pledge their support for a World Cup in England in 2018. It also plans to combine football with footprint by helping businesses in the bid's 12 host cities cut their energy use and carbon footprint.
Giuseppe Di Vita, Managing Director of npower retail markets, said: "We're absolutely delighted to be supporting the bid to stage the World Cup in England and excited by what a successful bid would mean for the country. We work with all of our customers to help them improve energy efficiency and many of our business customers have realised savings of thousands of pounds off their bills. Bringing the 2018 World Cup to England is another way of boosting businesses' bottom lines.
"There's sure to be huge excitement around England's chances in South Africa this year, but even that would be eclipsed by the excitement of supporting the team on home soil. As official 2018 bid sponsors, we'll be doing everything we can to help this happen and make sure businesses get the most out of a successful bid."
The npower survey also showed that Wayne Rooney is the favourite of England's young players to captain the 2018 squad - 67% believe he will be captain, with Theo Walcott backed by 17%, James Milner 10% and Aaron Lennon 6%.
England 2018 Chief Executive Andy Anson said: "The support of npower is extremely important in our bid to host the 2018 World Cup and we're delighted that they've joined the team. With hundreds of thousands of business customers across the country npower is sure to play a vital role in marketing the bid and building home support. Businesses small and large are essential in staging a successful event and we hope the business community will get behind us and back the bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018."
Visit www.npower.com/backthebid to pledge your support for England 2018.