IT was set to be the World Cup jackpot that would land businesses in Hampshire millions of pounds.
Figures from accountants and business advisers James Cowper revealed that retailers, pubs and restaurants would have landed a £38m cash windfall if England made it out of the group stages.
It could even have reached the dizzy heights of £57m had England done the unthinkable and made it all the way to the final.
Across the country it was expected the World Cup would pump between £2 billion and £3 billion into the economy, according to estimates from the British Retail Consortium and the Centre for Economics & Business Research.
Food, drink, barbecues and TV sales were expected to rocket during the tournament.
Now England’s early exit could leave a £1.3 billion hole in the economy nationally – with a massive drop in sales for shops and a fall in productivity in the workplace.
A study claimed each England goal triggered a £200m spending spree as supporters celebrated in pubs, clubs and restaurants and bought sportswear and souvenirs on the high street.
Fans could have spent £2.5 billion if England had made it to the final, according to the report by VoucherCodes.co.uk.
But even getting to the last 16 was predicted to spark £1.3 billion in sales, making the team’s elimination from the tournament a major blow to high street shops and food and drink chains.
Workplaces are also likely to experience a decline in productivity as one in ten workers have considered taking a sick day following England’s defeats, according to betting chain Ladbrokes.
Businesses across Hampshire are also counting the cost of England’s disappointing exit from Group D after two defeats and a draw.
It had all looked so bright before the tournament kicked off – there was a renewed sense of optimism among fans that England could be dark horses in Brazil.
Pubs in Hampshire had got themselves ready by ordering big screens, stocking up on beer and extending their licences for late night games.
However, World Cup fever has proved a damp squib after Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions limped out of the tournament.
Figures revealed there would be an increased spend of £20 for every person in Hampshire during the World Cup.
Stewart Dunn, of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said that England dropping out of the group stages would affect trade, but there was still money to be made from the competition.
Mr Dunn said: “I share everyone’s disappointment that England have not gone further forward.
“This will obviously have an effect on expenditure, but the World Cup is in people’s thoughts and there is still incredible coverage.
“People will still go to pubs to watch games but not in the same numbers as when England were in the tournament.
“I think the whole thing will be dampened down, but there is still a strong opportunity for businesses to capitalise on what is an exciting tournament for the next few weeks.”
Eugene McManus, manager of the Saints pub , in Millbrook, Southampton, said: “We are very fortunate that our performance is such that we do not rely on such competitions , as we are well supported by the community.
England fans despair as they watch the World Cup match against Uruguay in The Saints pub in Millbrook, Southampton.
“But I can understand how other venues would be reliant on the tournament. It is a shame that the players let the country down.”
While Sam Cahill, who works at The Alexandra pub, in Bellevue Road, Southampton, believes England’s performance drove punters away from watching the games in pubs.
He said: “The first game we were packed and then as people saw England’s performance, the pub wasn’t that busy for Uruguay and was almost dead for the Costa Rica game.
“England’s performance has been bad for business, especially here as we are a sports-driven pub.”
At the Bridge Inn, in Woolston, Southampton, more than 120 people gathered when England took on Uruguay, but only 25 turned up to watch the Three Lions struggle in a 0-0 draw against Costa Rica.
Landlord John Lewis said that, in previous World Cups, by the time the knockouts arrived there were usually crowds of up to 300 people who watched the games.
The pub also lost out on raising funds for charity through its ticketing system, where each punter paid a pound to watch an England match.
Mr Lewis said: “In business terms England’s performance is really disappointing. The knockouts are where the most trade happens.
“I was expecting better than what we got fom the England team, which was disappointing after all the hype before the tournament.”
The Gordon Arms, in Portswood Road, Southampto, was another watering hole that was hoping to cash in on the World Cup.
By the time England played Costa Rica, just eight people came in to watch the game – compared to more than 100 for the Uruguay game.
Landlord Christian Stoner said: “We are now back to normal, and we are a lot quieter since England went out.
“I think people are really down because of it and are choosing to watch the games at home.
“In terms of business, England’s performance was a real shame and we would have earned more money if they stayed in longer – which potentially could have been thousands of pounds.
“In the knockout stages, people would have come in to watch all games, as most people start to take a real interest in watching England.”
Hampshire Flags, based in Waterlooville, saw a flurry of activity as fans ordered hundreds of flags, and were expecting that to continue if England made it to the knockout stages, according to finance director Carole Ellis.