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Study Estimates Economic Impact of Football Game Near $8.2M
A study by UA MBA student Kevin Wittner found that the Sept. 18 UA-University of Iowa football game at Arizona Stadium resulted in nearly $8.2 million for the local economy.
A study conducted by University of Arizona MBA student Kevin Wittner found that the Sept. 18 UA-University of Iowa football game generated nearly $8.2 million in direct visitor spending in Tucson.
"We champion our program for a variety of reasons but don't always think of the engine it can be in terms of generating real dollars for the rest of the community," said Greg Byrne, UA director of athletics.
"There is a general understanding that our events are a positive economic factor for our local economy; now the results of Kevin's study of the Iowa-Arizona football clearly illustrate that point," Byrne said. "Our goal is to continue to provide opportunities to young men and women, and also to embrace the special opportunity to play a critical role in our local economy."
Wittner conducted the survey as part of an independent study project in close collaboration with UA assistant professor of marketing Jesper Nielsen, senior research economist Alberta Charney of the Eller College's Economic and Business Research Center and UA Intercollegiate Athletics.
"The question of what kind of impact an intercollegiate athletics department has on its university and community is widely debated," Wittner said. "I had a theory that the athletics department wasn't a drain, but was in fact an economic driver."
After collecting and analyzing 1,767 paper and online surveys – 763 of which were determined to be completed and valid – the Sept. 18 game's estimated direct visitor spending impact was $8,160,429. The figure is statistically accurate within +/- 9 percent.
"Kevin paid careful attention to potential problems related to double-counting people and the difficulty of measuring the population to be surveyed," said EBR senior research economist Alberta Charney, who reviewed Wittner's results. "He was also careful to separate out-of-area money from locally spent money when applying the economic multipliers – only out-of-area money is ‘new' money, which is required for impact studies."
"While the number is significant, I think the important point is how collegiate athletics contributes to a community as a whole," Wittner said. "Visitors spent thousands of dollars to come here and watch a game they could have seen in their living rooms in high-def. It speaks to the desire for alumni to stay connected and forge shared experiences as a community."
The Eller College of Management at the UA is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in entrepreneurship and social responsibility.