The £280,000 cost to Milton Keynes of winning in sport

Winning high-profile status in sport is set to cost Milton Keynes Council around £280,000 over the next few years.

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 6:45 pm
Stadium:MK will host games at the women's Euros

The council has been successful in bidding to be a host city in the women’s European football tournament in 2021 and, earlier this year, MK scooped the right to call itself a European City of Sport in 2020.

Councillors who are running MK Council’s budget under the microscope in the run up to setting next year’s council tax welcomed the spending as an investment.

“Ladies’ soccer is kicking off,” said Cllr Amanda Marlow (Cons, Loughton & Shenley), referring to the success of women’s games games held at stadium:mk.

Cllr Robin Bradburn (Lib Dem, Bradwell), the chairman at Tuesday’s meeting of the Budget and Resources Scrutiny Committee, looked back at the three games that the city hosted in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, saying: “They had great crowds.

“The stadium was full for the recent England under 21 international.

“This sort of thing puts us on the map,” he added.

Both events are expected to bring economic and social returns for MK, which is suffering from people dying younger than the national average, and from high levels of obesity. The women’s football tournament is also expected to help promote gender equality.

Budget papers presented to the committee say that European City of Sport status in 2020 has created a one off budget pressure of “up to but not more than £200,000 per annum”.

Council officers have put £60,000 into the council’s budget for this year and next, and £4,000 in the year after that, making a total of £130,000.

Being a host city for the women’s Euros is expected to cost a total of £150,000, broken down into £75,000 next year, and the same figure again in the year of the tournament. Milton Keynes will be hosting matches during July 2021.

It will involve finding training venues for visiting teams.

It is also expected to boost the city’s economy by an estimated £2.2million, according to council background papers.

The council carried out surveys during the 2015 Rugby World Cup where it found that “98 per cent agreed with the statement ‘Milton Keynes should continue to host major sporting events’.