London Olympics Report Says U.K. Economy Boosted

The London Olympics provided a 9.9 billion-pound ($15 billion) boost to business in the year since they were held, according to estimates by officials at U.K. Trade & Investment.

The benefit might rise to 41 billion pounds by 2020, the government’s trade-promotion agency said in a report published today. The games have led to 1.4 million more people playing sport each week than when London won the right in 2005 to hold the games, according to UKTI.

“With companies across the country we are harnessing the Olympic momentum and delivering the lasting business legacy of the games,” Prime Minister David Cameron said in an e-mailed statement. “This 9.9 billion-pound boost to the U.K. economy is a reminder to the world that, if you want the best, if you want professionalism, if you want jobs done on time and on budget then you should think British.”

The 9.9 billion pounds is made up of 5.9 billion pounds in extra sales as a result of Olympic-related activity, such as the British Business Embassy in London during the games, 2.5 billion pounds of additional investment in the U.K. from the games and 1.5 billion pounds in contracts for British companies overseas, UKTI said.

New business includes 120 million pounds in contracts for the 2014 soccer World Cup in Brazil and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro two years later. British companies have also won more than 60 contracts for the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia next year, UKTI said.

‘Genuine Benefit’

Business Secretary Vince Cable said that, while the estimates are “not something that would pass muster in the best academic journals,” they reflect a genuine benefit to the U.K. economy from the Olympics. The games sped up deals involving companies that were already “warm” toward Britain, he said.

“The Olympics were a key catalyst in making some of these investment decisions real,” Cable told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” show. “They progressed more rapidly, more positively than they otherwise would have done.”

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