This Sunday, two very different nations will face each other in the European Cup. A Italian team that has flown through the tournament with style and confidence will go up against the “It’s Coming Home” England team looking for its first championship in 55 years, and one thing is for certain: the game will make economic waves.
For the winner, the tournament is likely to boost local hospitality sectors as well as stock markets, which is welcome to countries in recovery from, let’s say, an exit from the European Union, or a tourism sector ravaged by a seemingly eternal pandemic.
Based on historical data on the European Cup, a winner’s uptick is expected. But how long it lasts is a different story.
Out of the five last European Cup tournaments, winners Greece and Spain saw their country bourses outperform the pan-European average STOXX 600 after their 2004 and 2008 and 2012 tournaments. In fact, the Athens market outperformed the index by 20% over the six months after Greece’s 2004 shock win.
Winners of the World Cup tell a similar story. A report done by Goldman Sachs in 2014 showed that every World Cup winner since 1974 had seen its stock market outperform the global average, bar the 2002 tournament when Brazil’s victory was marred by a deep recession.
But this high doesn’t last very long. The Goldman Sachs report found that while the winner’s local bourse outperform the global market by 3.5% in the first month after the final, the boost fades after three months and by the end of a year, the countries were underperforming by 4%.
This could explain what happened after the last World Cup wins by England and Italy, which were both followed by poor economic results.
After Italy took home the championship in 2006, its economy tanked (though most European country’s did in the 2007-8 financial crisis), and on Thursday Jim O’Neill of Chatham House reminded Bloomberg TV that after England won its last major football trophy, in 1966, the country went to the IMF a year later for help.
As for the runner-up, the odds look even worse. The Goldman report found that seven of nine of the World Cup runners-up underperformed over the first month by 1.4%. Three months after the match, runners-up stock markets were still faltering—operating 5.6% lower than global markets.
However, in pandemic times the outcome may not as predictable as it once was.
The morning after England beat Germany the London’s FTSE 100 index dropped 0.7%. That day, Jim Reid of Deutsche Bank noted how the usual way of things had come unglued in 2021. “I can’t believe at the start of my career that equity markets genuinely went up in countries that won important matches at major tournaments,” he wrote in an investor note. “Life was so much simpler back then.”
A boost nonetheless
Still, while the English and Italian stock markets may not move in lockstep with the final results, hospitality is guaranteed to go up across both nations. Bars, pubs and restaurants across Italy and England will see an upswing in footfall traffic as both sides enter the tournament and weekend with a “feel good effect,” in the words of Kallum Pickering, senior economist at Berenberg.
U.K.’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said he expected to see a “bounce” in consumer confidence because of the tournament. And Simona Caricasulo, a professor of business economics of Sport at Luiss Guido Carli University went so far as to say an Italian victory would mean a 0.7% increase in GDP—worth about €12 billion.
TV viewings are also expected to peak across both countries. In the semifinals in England 27.6 million screens streamed the game. The movement is also making their way to the U.S., with ABC and ESPN reporting an average audience of 1,816,000 viewers for the last eight matches of the Euros.
Meanwhile, sale of beers and other game refreshments are also surging. U.K. grocery delivery service Ocada has reported seeing a ‘huge increase’ in beer sales as football fans cheer England on, while the British Beer & Pub Association has predicted that England fans will buy 7.1 million pints on Sunday.
But while beer, crisps and sausages do remarkably well in England, pasta and pizza might not with fans threatening to boycott one of their favourite game day snacks.
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