THE ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup will bring up to £18.3 million to Southampton’s economy.

The news comes as thousands of cricket lovers are to come to the Hampshire Bowl in West End today to watch England playing against West Indies.

As reported, the home of Hampshire County Cricket Club, is hosting five matches of the international tournament.

But in a statement released by Southampton City Council (SCC) it has been confirmed that being a host city will provide up to £18.3m worth of economic benefits for Southampton and the local businesses.

The figure was taken from a report commissioned by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The report considered factors including ticket sales; match day spending on food, drink and merchandise; wider spending from international visitors in the hospitality, retail and transport sectors and the tourism and business legacy from the tournament’s global exposure.

Sandeep Sesodia, non-executive director at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Cricket World Cup fixtures being held at the Ageas Bowl is a welcome boost for the local economy. Hampshire Cricket have worked tirelessly with the authorities, the local community and businesses to ensure that the facilities at The Ageas Bowl are world class.”

The news was also welcomed by councillor Keith House, leader at Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC). As reported, the council bought a 999-year lease for the ground’s land and buildings.

“The Cricket World Cup is great for local businesses and for the many local residents that will again get to see world class cricket on their doorstep. It once again shows that Eastleigh Borough Council was tight to back the Ageas Bowl as a world class venue in our borough,”he added.

But as previously reported, dozens of people are also expected to flock to the free fanzone at Westquay on the Esplanade between today and Sunday.

It will feature a big screen and there will be a street cricket zone, cricket related games and activities and a refreshment bar selling soft-drinks and alcohol.

Cllr Satvir Kaur, cabinet member for homes and culture at SCC, said: “The ICC Cricket World Cup has already brought thousands of new visitors from around the world to our great city, as well as contributed to the local economy. The planned Fanzone for the World Cup this weekend will be a great chance however for the whole community to come together to celebrate the tournament and enjoy the action in front of our iconic and unique medieval walls. Hopefully I’ll see many of you there.”

Giles Semper, Chief Executive of GO!Southampton said: "The ICC Cricket World Cup is already proving a hugely enjoyable event for the city, not least because it’s allowing a lot of our residents to celebrate their heritages from other parts of the world.

"We’re thrilled to hear of the economic impact local businesses could see as a result of this event.

"Having the fan zone at Westquay will provide a fantastic opportunity to bring footfall to the city centre and encourage fans to explore local businesses.”

Southampton Fanzone opening times and games:

England vs West Indies – Match Played at Hampshire Bowl

Friday 14th June

10:00 – 19:45

Sri Lanka vs Australia / South Africa vs Afghanistan

Saturday 15th June

10:00 – 22:45

India vs Pakistan

Sunday 16th June

10:00 – 19:45