The European Championship will be a big moneymaker for its hosts, Austria and Switzerland, even without England and its 40,000 traveling fans.
The June 7-29 soccer tournament, which will involve 16 teams, will boost the European economy by 1.4 billion euros ($2.1 billion), according to study commissioned by MasterCard Inc. and released Sunday.
Euro 2008's impact will "include a rise in ticket sales, travel, food and beverage sales, merchandising, sponsorship revenue, advertising and use of telecommunications and new media services," said the 11-page report.
The economic impact, the report added, will be felt not only in the Austrian and Swiss cities hosting the matches, but also at the national and Europe-wide level. A UEFA-commissioned study after the Euro 2004 tournament in Portugal found that the European economy had benefited to the tune of 800 million euros.
Written by Simon Chadwick, director of sport business at Coventry University in England, the new study said the most lucrative matches would be Italy vs. Netherlands on June 9 and the Netherlands vs. France on June 13 - both in the Swiss capital of Bern - and France vs. Italy, June 17 in Zurich. Those matches could be worth up to 56 million euros ($82.7 million) to the economies of the two competing nations, and contribute to an overall "halo effect" that could total of 300 million euros ($442.8 million) in economic value to Austria and Switzerland.
Every match in the tournament will be felt throughout Europe, even in countries that failed to qualify, "principally driven by sponsorship and commercial revenues," said Chadwick.
The study rejects the notion that England's exclusion from the tournament will dampen its economic value.
England missed out after losing to Croatia in its last qualifying match, handing Russia second place in the group and a spot in the finals. More than 40,000 English were expected to travel to the Alpine countries.
Chadwick said England's loss "creates an interesting dimension to Euro 2008."
Russia, Europe's largest nation, has only qualified for one major tournament in the last decade - the Euro 2004 in Portugal - and becomes the economic wild-card for next year's event.
Chadwick said it is "difficult to predict what the economic impact of the country's participation in EURO 2008 will be," but hinted that it could exceed expectations because of rising economic growth and income levels in Russia.
Russia's "telecommunications market is strengthening and the sponsorship and commercial rights market is burgeoning," Chadwick said. "Expenditure on overseas tourism and interest in football are growing."
He predicted, however, that the Russian bear would only truly awake as a major force in soccer economics - rivaling England, Germany, Italy and Spain - at the European championship in 2012, which will be held in Russia's neighbors Poland and Ukraine.
MasterCard has been the official sponsor of the European Championship since 1992. ( AP )