University of Arkansas Study Concludes UA Athletics Have $153.6 Million Impact On State Economy

by Chris Bahn  on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 10:56 am  

A University of Arkansas study estimates Razorback athletics has an annual statewide economic impact of $153.6 million annually.

A proposed renovation of the north end zone at Razorback Stadium and three additional projects could generate an additional $239.7 million, according to the UA study. The cost for completing the proposed stadium project was originally estimated at $78-95 million.

Researchers at the UA’s Center for Business and Economic Research conducted the study during the 2011-12 academic year. They analyzed three categories to measure economic impact, including the direct economic impacts of the operations of the athletic department, visitor spending at on-campus home events for football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball and the construction expenditures of the athletic department. 

"Our study illustrates the tremendous annual economic value of Razorback Athletics to the entire state," said Kathy Deck, Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Walton College. "The impact of a thriving nationally competitive intercollegiate athletics program that draws more than one million fans annually is vital to the economic stability of Arkansas. The region relies on the economic benefits created by fans that pack hotels, dine in restaurants and support local businesses.

"Razorback football in particular has been a driving force in bringing new hotels and other businesses to our area. They simply wouldn’t be here if they couldn’t count on the influx of visitors during the fall, year in and year out.

"In addition, the athletic department's continued investments in the renovation and construction of facilities creates job opportunities and adds significant value to the overall economic outlook for Fayetteville and surrounding communities."

According to the study, UA athletics spent $84.7 million. Those expenses, according to the study, helped generate $124.1 million for the state economy, including one million fans that “attended sporting events on the University of Arkansas campus resulting in 35,805 hotel or motel room nights and the purchase of over one million meals.

Visitors to Razorback events generated new economic activity of nearly $30 million in northwest Arkansas alone, netting a combined $2.66 million in state and local sales taxes directly benefitting the residents of Northwest Arkansas.”

Nearly 70 percent of those who attended UA football games in Fayetteville came from outside northwest Arkansas, according the UA study.

Also noted in the 74-page study conducted by the UA is the impact of current construction on the UA football operations center. An estimated 561 jobs were created and the $40-plus million project helped generate $64.5 million in economic impact.

Upcoming UA athletic construction projects, estimated at more than $150 million, would generate 2,016 jobs and an economic impact of $239.7 million, according to the UA study.



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