Champions League final: Liverpool eyes £10 million weekend as fans flood into city centre for big match

Bars set to be packed and hotel rooms already sold out as city businesses prepare for windfall on back of football success

Colin Drury
North of England Correspondent
Saturday 28 May 2022 14:42
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<p>Liverpool FC bus parade after 2019 Champions League win</p>

Liverpool FC bus parade after 2019 Champions League win

There are big screens across the city, every hotel room is booked out, and, down at Jurgeon’s Bierhaus, it’s already approaching standing room only.

This is Liverpool city centre hours before Saturday night’s Champions League Final.

The Reds are aiming to win their seventh European Cup when they take on Real Madrid in Paris.

And, while more than 100,000 fans are estimated to have travelled to the French capital, Liverpool itself is both buzzing with excitement and preparing for a huge economic boon on the back of the big game.

“We can’t wait, mate,” said an already under-the-cosh bar staffer at Jurgeon’s, a German ale house named after club manager Klopp. “We’re already fully sold out for the game. It’s going to be a night to remember.”

Fans cheer for their team as they gather near the Eiffel Tower

Indeed, it is - even for non-football fans, it seems.

When Liverpool last won the Champions League in 2019, the economic boost that weekend was some £10 million for the region.

Now, Bill Addy, chief executive of the city’s Business Improvement District company, reckons there will be similar figures this year.

“Bars, hotels, food, transport,” he said. “We’re talking tens of thousands of extra people coming into the city and spending their money here. The benefits of that are obviously huge.”

He himself is an Everton fan.

“So, I say it through gritted teeth,” he added. “But yes, the impact cannot be underestimated. It is good for everyone in the city, whatever their team’s colour.”

Every hotel room in the city is taken, he said, and many pubs and bars – such as the 1,900 capacity Camp and Furnace venue – are sold out for the evening.

But the benefits are not solely confined to the sort of hospitality businesses one would expect, said Addy.

Liverpool fans in Place de la Nation, Paris (Jacob King/PA)

What else might profit? Salons, for example. “Liverpudlians like to look good for a big night out and they don’t come any bigger than this,” he said. “So, I should think salons, hairdressers, places like that, will have seen [an uptick] over the last couple of weeks.”

Pertinently, coming after two years of Covid-19 lockdowns – and with Liverpool having been one of the cities hit economically hardest – the final will prove a huge fillip to businesses still recovering.

An open top bus tour on Sunday, meanwhile, is expected to attract as many as a million people into the centre. That will go ahead whether the club win or lose Saturday’s match because the side has already won the FA Cup and League Cup this season.

“There’s actually a real buzz around Liverpool at the moment and I think that is to do with the football team inspiring confidence in the city,” said Phil McCabe, development manager with the Merseyside and Cheshire Federation of Small Businesses, and himself an Anfield season ticket holder. “There’s just a real positivity here and getting to the Champions League final – it sort of feels like its symbolises where the city is at the moment.

“Everything just feels really on the up.”

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