Yet, while Covid-19 lockdown restrictions will frustrate all those fans who want to support their favourite club in person as the 2020-21 season kicks off, it is significant that Yorkshire finally has two clubs in football’s top flight – Sheffield United and newly-promoted Leeds United.
Irrespective of allegiances and rivalries, international TV coverage means the spotlight will be on the two cities in a way that can only benefit, and enhance, the profile of Yorkshire’s economy at this critical juncture. It is effectively free publicity, as the people of Hull and Huddersfield also discovered when their clubs made it to football’s ‘promised land’.
The key, however, is the marketing teams at Yorkshire’s clubs, from Sheffield United and Leeds United down the divisions to Harrogate Town who are making their Football League debut, to work with their counterparts at local authorities, and the LEPs, to maximise every opportunity for promoting the area, particularly in a digital format, to fans, and potential, visitors from around the world.
For, as many hospitality businesses located in close proximity to football grounds report, it is only now – in the midst of the pandemic – that they truly appreciate the contribution that fans do make to the region’s prosperity.
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