SUNDERLAND’S Great Escape is set to provide a bumper boost to the Wearside economy this weekend.
A sell-out crowd is expected as the Black Cats take on Swansea at the Stadium of Light on Sunday, fresh from the 2-0 win over West Brom, which guaranteed Premiership survival for another year.
Sunderland City Centre Traders’ Association chairman Harry Collinson is predicting the feel-good factor will be reflected in a busy weekend for Wearside businesses.
“It has really lifted the mood in the city and I think we will see people coming into town and using the pubs, bars and restaurants,” he said.
“The fans really deserve this and the players and club have been fantastic. After the Tottenham game, I thought we were dead and buried.
“The economic benefit of being in the Premier League is massive for the city and the club.” Ensuring top-flight survival certainly is critical to the club’s continued success.
The English Premier League is the most watched in the world, far ahead of the likes of Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A or Germany’s Bundesliga.
Broadcast rights for live games for 2013-16 were sold to Sky and BT for a total of just over £3billion, while the BBC chips in a further £178million for the right to broadcast highlights on Match of the Day.
Various overseas deals contribute another £2billion to the pot.
On top of the TV earnings there is prize money, or merit money, awarded to each club depending on the position they finish in the league, which is about £1.2million paid for every place a club finishes in the league. The money is divided up in three ways. Half is shared out equally between all 20 top-flight clubs, 25 per cent is divvied up on the basis of how many times a club’s games are shown live in the UK (£750,000 for every live TV appearance, with a minimum payment of £7.5million) and the final quarter is shared out according to where a team finishes in the league.
The sheer scale of this season’s new deal is highlighted by the fact that whoever finishes rock-bottom on Sunday – Cardiff, Fulham, or (barring a miracle) Norwich – will still pocket £63million, more than Manchester United were paid for winning the title last season.
This season’s pay deal includes “merit money” of £1.2million for every place a club finishes up the table.
If Sunderland beat Swansea on Sunday and West Ham lose to title-chasing Manchester City, the Black Cats will finish 12th and pocket almost £11million.