Northampton Saints may have lost £1m in revenue during the Heineken Cup rugby match against Ulster, a study has found.

The survey was conducted by The University of Northampton and presented to the club's management. Around 3,500 Ulster supporters travelled to the game, which was switched to stadium:mk, to fulfil capacity requirements of the tournament.

Any quarter final venue must hold at least 15,000 which the Saints failed to meet with their current home at Franklin’s Gardens. However the club is currently putting plans together for the expansion of the stadium to cash in on future events.

"The findings show that even in a time of financial uncertainty top class rugby can bring an immediate boost to the local economy,” said Allan Robson, Northampton Saints chief executive. "We have shown that the potential is there for local businesses to benefit from the Saints' successes, and this is something we can all build on in the future."

The study found that travelling supporters spent an average of £250 per person, with the most amount of money going on food and drink (38%), followed by hotels/accommodation (23%). It also found that the majority of fans spent one or two nights in Milton Keynes, and the vast majority of visitors praised the welcome they received and said that they would visit the area again.

Northampton Saints chief executive Allan Robson stated that the economic impact survey, the first to be commissioned by the club, demonstrates clearly the extrinsic value that rugby can bring to a local economy.

Posted on 14/07/2011