BRIGHTON and Hove Albion has boosted the local economy by more than half a billion pounds by soaring into the Premier League.

Businesses, workers, public services and charities have all benefited hugely from the Seagulls reaching the top flight of English football in 2016-17 and staying there for at least three seasons.

The impact of the club’s rise to the biggest and richest league in the world is revealed in a 40-page report, published today.

The report, produced by regeneration experts Marshall Regen in partnership with the University of Chichester, shows the club contributed £212 million to the Greater Brighton economy in 2017-18, including £50 million of export income.

That was the club’s first season in the Premier League and seventh since moving into the American Express Community Stadium from its temporary home at Withdean.

Martin Perry, Albion’s executive director, said: “The history behind this is that, when we were fighting for the stadium, we said we would generate around £23 million into the local economy.

“People laughed at us and said we were talking rubbish. We were, because in fact the figure is £212 million, ten times more, which over the three years we will have been in the Premier League means it is over a half a billion pounds boost to the local economy. That’s just how important the football club now is locally.

“Also, our matches now are broadcast in 198 countries and so we carry the Brighton flag all over the world. And we have attracted global brands like American Express and Nike (kit sponsors) who are part of what we are now. I think people haven’t quite realised the scales of it.”

The report reveals that in 2017-18 alone Albion contributed £54 million to the Treasury in taxes and National Insurance contributions, including £1 million in local business rates.

“These tax contributions,” the report says, “would be enough to pay the salaries of over 2,000 Band 6 nurses or build nine new primary schools.”

Albion directly employed over 1,000 staff, main sub-contractor Sodexo more than 800, and had contracts with over 500 businesses.

The club’s charitable arm, Albion In The Community, has also played a big part in benefitting the local community.

Perry said: “We have now become a major player in the Brighton economy. We are the fourth largest employer. AITC itself generates £28 million of social value every year.

For every pound that people give to AITC we leverage that by £8.84. Over three years in the Premier League that’s £90 million worth of social value.”

Chairman Tony Bloom, who has poured in an estimated £300 million of his personal fortune on infrastructure and building the team, said: “We realised our (stadium) vision in 2011 and this report now shows that we have more than delivered on all of our promises and provides evidence of the huge economic and social benefits to the Greater Brighton City Region.”.