Madrid plays host to the Champions League final this Saturday, the biggest event in European club football.
Liverpool and Tottenham are the finalists, two English teams with sizeable traveling fanbases that will head for the Spanish capital in big numbers, providing sizeable revenues for the city.
UEFA's initial forecasts speculated that more than 100,000 English fans could arrive in Madrid, although, that number has since been revised to 80,000 visitors - 34,000 with tickets. The impact of this added tourism is expected to boost the economy of Madrid by €60-66m.
The Business Confederation of Madrid-CEOE and the Business Union for Tourism Promotion are the two organisations that have attempted to put an estimate to the economic benefits for the city.
The first, in an official press release, predicted that the economic impact will be €62.5m, while the Business Union, in a statement to Spanish news agency EFE, estimated €123m, of which €66m will remain in Madrid. They expect visitors to spend an average of €150 a day.
The City Council of Madrid has refused to quote exact numbers, but it did affirm that the Madrid brand would reach 350,000 people and that, according to UEFA estimates, the revenues would be over €50m. By contrast, the final of last year's Copa Libertadores raised €47m in the city.
The arrival of thousands of tourists has naturally led to prices being bumped up for flights and hotels, which are now almost completely full up.
Regarding flights, there are hardly any remaining seats on direct flights left from London to Madrid and those that are still available come at a very high price. If a Tottenham fan still doesn't have his flight booked and intends to arrive on Friday, the cheapest left is Iberia for €187 (one way). In case you want to fly on Saturday, RyanAir still has a flight for €455 and EasyJet at €578. A RyanAir flight that same day, but without arriving in time to see the match, drops to €110. Prices have quadrupled.
The real problem for Londoners who have waited until the last minute to book will be the return. If you want to return to the UK capital on Sunday, there is only one available direct flight, non-stop, for €963.
Liverpool fans have it slightly easier for last-minute deals to Madrid. For Friday, Spanish provider Vueling still has flights at €200, while on Saturday the prices go from €200 with Vueling to €400 with RyanAir.
If someone from Liverpool is not a fan of the club but wants to fly to Madrid next Wednesday, they could do so for just €45. For returns to Merseyside, Vueling still has tickets for €270.
Accommodation is another of the sectors that will benefit greatly from the game. The AEHM (the Hotel Business Association Madrid) has estimated an average occupancy of higher than 95% for 1 June. According to Booking, the occupancy is already at 94%.
On Booking's site, accommodation prices range from €226 to €5000. Once again, the costs drop on the days immediately after the game.
The percentage increase of hotel prices for the dates around the Champions League final are higher than the 200% average of recent finals, but considerably lower than the 637% increase for Kiev in 2018.
Airbnb is another platform enjoying a boost in activity. The prices of the rooms on the rental service site range from €150 upwards, reaching over €1,000 for a single night in centrally located rooms or near the Wanda Metropolitano. The accommodation costs have quintupled their average cost, as more than 32,000 guests will make use of Airbnb rooms over the weekend.
Food and (especially) drink sellers will also be great beneficiaries thanks to the English fans. The businesses near Plaza Colon and Felipe II (where the fanzones of Tottenham and Liverpool will be) Goya, Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol have tripled their orders on all beer and have recruited extra staff to help serve visitors. According to Pizcueta (coordinator of the Business Union for the Tourism Promotion to EFE) the catering sector alone will earn €18m.
Vive el ambiente de la UEFA Champions League durante esta semana en la terraza de Hard Rock Cafe Madrid. Buen tiempo, bebidas frías, comida americana y mucho Rock n´Roll.— Hard Rock Madrid (@HardRockMadrid) May 27, 2019
Os esperamos calentando motores en el PALCO VIP DE PEPSI MAX. #SIGUETUPASION #HARDROCKCAFE pic.twitter.com/gxzFLExjTl
The manager of several Tommy Mels (an-American style diner franchise) in Madrid explained to 90min that he expects a large increase in business in Sol and in Colón, but also in La Castellana, since many visitors will spend the night in the hotels of the well-known Madrid street.
The Hard Rock Cafe near Colón is also expecting big business and has prepared a VIP box on its terrace with television and a free bar menu for a fee of between €40-50.
Fear of Hooligans
Not everyone in the hospitality industry views the en-masse arrival of English football fans as a good thing. Many fear the arrival of 'hooligans' and for the safety of their premises.
The Calvin Brewery on Plaza Felipe II, has decided to stay closed on the day of the final, "because I do not like football fans, they act like gorillas. I do not want to suffer."
In other bars in areas such as Rincón de Dalí they have also showed their concern - although they still plan to open. Many like Le Petit Prince will open and observe the behaviour of the people, hoping it will be positive.
The service sectors are not the only beneficiaries of this event. UEFA, in order to carry out all the events, have hired more than 400 people for the event.
A waiter serving in the Wanda Metropolitano will work around seven hours, earning around €50-60 for the shift after tax.