Three days of road cycling during last summer’s Olympics saw the London borough of Kingston net a £5 million local spending boost.
The first borough to study the Olympic effect in depth has discovered that over 50,000 people came into the area on each of the competition days, spending in hotels, pubs and restaurants.
The report by Dr Peter Garside from Kingston University's Centre for Economic did note that town centre stores lost money - up to £4 million, or a 1 per cent loss - most likely due to road closures. Those that did come to the area took advantage of the longer weekend shopping hours during the Games, or stayed an additional day in town, making “the total impact neutral or a reasonable level gain”.
The report noted:
"Considering the size and scale of localised spending on the event days, and the significant multiplier effect associated with this type of expenditure, it could be assumed that the total impact on the local economy was, at its worst, neutral or, at its best, a reasonable level gain.
The injection of visitor expenditure did equate to a significant gain for the micro and small businesses within the borough. Therefore, the negative impact recorded by larger operators should not overshadow these alternative and substantial economic gains in other sectors of the business community."
One of the main outcomes was a mood boost for the town Councillor Simon James, Kingston Council's Lead Member for Sport and Olympic Legacy said: "The council, businesses and the community responded positively to the challenge of hosting such large-scale events and managing huge crowd.
"There was a real feel-good factor. The eyes of the world were on us and people saw that Kingston was a place where things happen."
In addition, the borough's two main sports centres seeing up to 30 per cent more visitors last August and September. More people also took up Olympic sports including cycling and archery.
The Prudential RideLondon next weekend will see two more cycle events pass through Kingston; a 100 mile sportive and the competitive Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.