How much money do sports tournament games bring to cities?

I’m looking for information on the economic impact of the Confederate flag at the State House. One of the big effects of the NAACP boycott is that the NCAA will not hold tournaments and such here.

Obviously, we don’t know what we’re losing if we didn’t get it in the first place, although they did accidentally schedule some baseball thing in Myrtle Beach before they realized and cancelled. But we can make some assumptions based on what similar cities get.

The thing is, I don’t know dick about sports. I really don’t know anything about what games are played in places that don’t belong to either side (are all tournament games like that?) and if they travel every year, so I’m having a hard time understanding the figures I’m seeing. For example, I’ve found an estimate that the Milwaukee area got 2.2 million bucks out of the Midwest and West regional rounds of March Madness, but that that doesn’t include lodging or entertainment. Well, what does it include? Is that money the basketball people gave them? Ticket sales? How do they make an estimate of the total economic impact?

Is there even such a thing as a good solid number on the economic impact of something like that? (Basketball is best, since we have a nice arena and it’s going on right now. Or so I’m told. Some March thing, I dunno.) What about the tax impact?

(Additionally, are there similar numbers on the total economic impact of conventions? For reference, our convention center is 142,500 square feet - I’m sure it can’t hold the really big conferences like ALA and AMA.)

There are formulas on economic impacts on sporting events, but they bring a whole new level to the term “voodoo economics.”

Sort of like the people who claim that the NCAA tournament cause a $3.8 billion loss in productivity.

You can figure how much was paid for tickets and maybe get a handle on hotel rooms and restaurant service. But the people making up the numbers usually multiply whatever hard data they have by a multiplier, on the assumption that if you buy a $4.00 coffee at Starbucks, it goes to pay the salaries of the worker, then they go out and buy groceries, etc. So the $4 could be $10 or more. And the problem is that the people who calculate these values have a vested interest in making them as high as possible. Then they use this figure to claim the economic impact of missing the event.

Okay, but surely there’s at least some sort of real figure - at least ticket sales, maybe hospitality tax revenues, some sort of estimated impact on accommodations and food and such?

(Psst - I mean, I want real figures, but there’s no harm in a little inflation. We want the flag down.)

St. Louis is hosting one of the quarterfinals for the NCAA men’s basketball this weekend. That’s four teams playing three games (two rounds)over three days. The local media are using $20 million in economic impact.

According to this handy chart(warning: pdf) the economic multiplier for hotels, amusement and recreation is 2.48. So if they’re calling the economic impact $20 million, I’m guessing that the actual dollars coming into the area is more like $8 million. If 20,000 people show up for the games, that works about to about $400 per person. With three days of hotel rooms, food and game tickets, that actually sounds pretty close.

I’d imagine that for an event like that, it might actually even be more - wouldn’t you get some people who wouldn’t want to go to games where the team they’re there to see isn’t playing, and so they go spend some money elsewhere in town? At the mall, at the art museum, on the golf course, at the movies?

Sure, but don’t forget half the people that come into town will leave after the first set of games, when their teams lose. So maybe it’s more like 10,000 people who stay the whole weekend and spend $600 and 10,000 who come in, only stay one night, and spend $200.

Good article here from Indy for last year… puts the final figure in a down economy at $30 million.

The whole “impact” also includes the people who work here now having more money to pump into the economy as well.

Basketball (mens) is best because it’s the biggest (money-wise) post season tournament the NCAA has. Baseball, women’s basketball and maybe hockey are distant runners up and everything else is probably a non-issue in this regard.

However in the non-tournament department is football bowl games. The ban also includes those. According to this, several years ago they tried to create a Palmetto Bowl there, but have failed due to this issue.

I don’t know if it would help, but we had a similar ban here in Oregon for quite a few years. This ban was due to the state sponsoring a small lottery game based on sports betting. The sports being bet on were NFL games, but the NCAA didn’t like it anyway. We got rid of it several years ago and now can have NCAA events. Just last year we had a subregional basketball tourney in Portland and there are plans to try and get a regional in the near future. Don’t know what the dollar amounts are, but they made similar arguments to the ones you want to make to get rid of the sports lottery. Perhaps you could look into that.

Thank you - that’s very helpful. It’s difficult to figure out what’s a comparable city - Indianapolis and Portland are both larger than Columbia, and St. Louis of course is MUCH larger. However, we’re the state capital and have a huge university, which throws everything off.

Syracuse is a comparably sized city and they’re hosting the NCAA men this weekend. May not be a great comparison because Syracuse has one of the largest vebues for college basketball.

It looks like the estimates for first and second round basketball stuff in your city always fall somewhere between 5 and 10 million. “Realer” numbers without consideration for an economic ripple effect hover around 5 or 6. (Which is money we could definitely use, by the way.)

Why does everyone think Indy is so small? We are the 14th biggest in the US and St. Louis is 52nd. We’re over twice as big as St. Louis.

Anyway, I don’t think size would have that much effect on the impact unless there aren’t enough hotel rooms and people stay elsewhere, or if there is no airport, etc.

City sizes depend on arbitrary boundaries. Metro area sizes are a more meaningful way to look at things. Indy falls to 34 with that assessment. St. Louis Metro is 18th.

As an aside, I always wondered whether the temporary economic influx of funds from the Olympics really offsets the cost of building various permanent structures…

I guess it is how you look at it. For the economic impact I guess it would be positive for the entire metro area… even if some of those impacted are commuting an hour in.

For the visitor attending though they probably don’t care about that. According to the convention bureau sites of the two, Indy has about 10,400 hotel rooms within walking distance and St Louis has 8,000. 2,400 extra rooms has a big impact.

I’ll try not to get too far off topic, but in my experience, Indy “feels” the same or bigger than St Louis to a visitor. Chicago is MUCH larger. I guess it is just that there have been a couple of threads now making Indy sound much smaller than it is… the other stated that there must be “hundreds” of other citys of the same size in warmer climates (in the US).

Someone must agree with me since we’ll be hosting the final four soon, and this little thing called the Super Bowl in 2012.

Well, THAT was disappointing. Everybody had me all psyched to meet the Klan head on - I guess the KKK was running the Cooper Bridge Run this morning. :frowning: Almost no opposition at all. But at least 200 of our folks. Not very numbers-critical people, I’m afraid. Thanks for the help!