By Jonathan Davies
On 6 February, thousands of rugby fans will travel to Cardiff and the Millennium Stadium for the start of the RBS Six Nations rugby tournament as Wales take on England.
But for one man in particular, rugby won't be the only thing on his mind when the first whistle blows. Graham Morgan, director of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, is expecting the tournament to provide "an enormous boost to the [Cardiff] city region economy".
Speaking to Wales Online ahead of next week's opening fixture, Mr Morgan said: “The Six Nations is certainly a calendar event which captures the imagination of the whole nation and is something that provides a bond between business owners and their employees.
"Indeed, if Wales win, then it provides something of a morale boost for the nation and, I have heard anecdotally that productivity increases for businesses when the team is doing well."
Figures from Six Nations claim that the average person of a sell-out, 70,000 Millennium Stadium crowd spends £300 per match on food, transport, accommodation and of course, the match tickets. And Graham Morgan estimated a further 40,000 people who travel to Cardiff to watch the match in pubs, and they said an average of £50-75.
He added: "This obviously provides an enormous boost to the city region economy. Beyond south-east Wales, local pubs and rugby clubs are usually packed with people watching the game, and, most crucially, spending money when they do it."
WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, said: "Events at the Millennium Stadium deliver over £130m to the Welsh economy each year and so we know that when Wales opens the 2015 RBS 6 Nations championship with Wales versus England next Friday there will be a significant boost for local businesses.
“The eagerly-awaited match against England is a sell-out, attracting over 70,000 fans to Wales’ home ground in the heart of the city centre and with thousands more heading to Cardiff to enjoy the unique matchday atmosphere around the stadium.
“On top of this, rugby supporters around the world will be watching the match on television, spreading the news across the globe that Wales is a major player when it comes to hosting major sporting events and this is particularly significant this year as Wales gears up to host eight Rugby World Cup matches at the Millennium Stadium.”
RBS, the tournament's headline sponsor, also released figures which suggest each of the competing nations benefit from £375m to their respective economies. And the host cities (Cardiff, London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Paris and Rome) benefit from £150m.
Stephen Boyle, Head of RBS Economics said, “The RBS 6 Nations is more than just a tournament with 15 games of rugby.
"The boost to the local economies and the businesses is very real, especially during what is usually a quiet time in the tourist season.”
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