A new £50 million Aberdeen FC stadium could deliver £8.5m a year to the local economy, according to claims in a new report.
Analysis conducted by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) for the club states the total economic contribution of delivering the new community sports hub, training academy and stadium at Kingsford is £8.535m a year.
This would be the equivalent of 346 full-time equivalent additional jobs.
Under the new calculations the plans would also create 443 new construction jobs.
As revealed last week, new documents – including further information on the economic case – were requested by Aberdeen City Council.
The new data covers tests for various scenarios including “do-nothing” options, assuming an average of 8,500 and 10,000 fans at Pittodrie; a move to Kingsford with an average of 13,476 fans and a move with an increased average of 15,000 fans.
Raymond Edgar, project director for Kingsford, said: “With this additional detail and analysis, there is now no doubt about the overall economic benefits to the city and wider region associated with our ambitious plans for Kingsford.
“Our proposals fit with regional and national economic policy which aim to boost communities through investing in people, infrastructure and assets, fostering innovation and promoting inclusive growth.
“We’ve seen and felt the impact on our local community and our economy with the downturn due to a lower oil price, so the sooner we get on and build these facilities, the sooner the region will be able to share in these welcome benefits.”
The new annual figure of £8.535m is the difference between the “do-nothing” scenario at Pittodrie of £5.954m with an average of 8,500 fans, and a future Kingsford scenario of £14.489m with an average of 13,476 fans.
The club was specifically asked by the local authority to provide details about what on-site facilities will be provided at Kingsford since a large amount of money is currently spent in bars and restaurants in and around the city centre due to Pittodrie’s location.
The proposed site will include nine catering units inside and four outside the stadium, a retail outlet, and a bar and hospitality space.
In its report, Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce said: “If fans do choose to spend on-site, the procurement strategy of AFC means that this will flow through to local suppliers to a significant extent.
However, the aim is to encourage fans to retain existing behaviours when possible or offer opportunities/benefits when travelling from the city centre.”
Forecasts by AGCC suggest around 2,400 fans are likely to arrive from the city centre, “actually increasing” the potential for city centre spend in comparison to the number who travel from the city centre currently.
The report also highlights the risks of remaining at Pittodrie, which include challenges in player recruitment and reduced on-field performance due to competition from other clubs who have dedicated modern facilities.
The report claims this will lead to dwindling attendances and higher operational costs to carry on maintaining aging assets.
Russell Borthwick, chief executive of AGCC, said: “In addition to the compelling evidence of the economic benefits to the wider city region, it was vital that the club was able to understand and demonstrate the potential impact on trade of moving away from the city centre.
“The chamber is encouraged that the economic analysis shows the benefits of the stadium move significantly outweigh any downsides from lost city centre spending by fans.
“Taken alongside the progress being made on other City Centre Masterplan projects, we believe that the club’s proposals will not have a detrimental effect on the overall objectives of the plan.
“A successful local sports team provides much more than direct economic benefit with the ‘feel-good factor’ proven to have a positive effect on morale and productivity.
“AFC’s plans are privately funded, economically viable and can help support the delivery of the economic renaissance in the North-east.”
A second pre-determination hearing will be held focusing on the new information, and has been provisionally agreed to take place on January 17.
The club has said it is confident that if planning consent is granted by the end of January, it could still deliver the stadium in time for the start of the 2020/21 season.
Opponents to the plans, being led by the No Kingsford Stadium group, argue the ground is in the wrong location and is not part of the local development plan.
The group also claims the stadium will lead to a decline in attendances and negative impacts on the local area, the city centre and environment.