Study: MU athletics events contributed $188M to Columbia's economy

Friday, September 6, 2013 | 10:31 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Participation in MU athletics events contributed to $188 million of economic stimulus in the city for the 2012-13 fiscal year, according to a recently released study.

That estimate for 2012-13 — MU's first year in the Southeastern Conference — was more than $41 million higher than the estimate from the 2011-12 fiscal year, said MU graduate Cameron Byrd, a member of the research team that found these numbers, on Friday night.

Graduate students in the Trulaske College of Business Crosby MBA Program conducted the study, which was commissioned by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau.  

The MU athletics department provided the researchers with data from ticket sales records, donor contributions, television revenue and money spent by fans. The researchers then surveyed 1,216 people to find out what they spent outside of game tickets, parking and stadium purchases, Byrd said.

The researchers found that out-of-town fans spent an estimated $93.30 per person per game and that in-town fans spent an estimated $47.42.

Byrd — with Jordan Hawley, Andrew Crecelius, Duncan Kincheloe and Natalie Gerhart — also interviewed Alabama fans in the Columbia Regional Airport as they prepared to return from the Missouri home game against Alabama. They used a smaller survey with open-ended questions and found that more than 30 restaurants were mentioned. Of the restaurants visited, local restaurants were visited twice as much as chain restaurants, Byrd said.

Byrd said the team also found that out-of-town fans stayed in Columbia an estimate of one to two nights, sometimes booking hotel rooms in surrounding areas on the busiest game weekends. 

The total number of fans — both out-of-town and in-town — who attended games increased from the 2011-12 fiscal year to the 2012-13 fiscal year, Byrd said. 

Supervising editor is Allie Hinga.

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