Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Music City Bowl worth millions to Nashville economy

Last month, IBCR reported that the Gulf Coast experienced millions in economic impact from bowl games and related tourism, drawing visitors to the coastal regions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. According to the Tennessean, the Music City Bowl also has a sizable impact on the Nashville community.

It’s not the approximate $400 million seen along the Gulf Coast (two BCS bowls and two minor bowls), but the impact of a $22 million boost in local economic activity is still significant.

Almost 37,000 fans came to Nashville for the game, generating 25,805 hotel room nights, an economic analysis of the event found.

“The bowl continued to exhibit the strong momentum it has shown in recent years, based on attendance, ratings and economic impact,” said Brad Lampley, the bowl’s chairman.

The close proximity of the schools to Nashville — Mississippi State is 279 miles away in Starkville, Miss., while Wake Forest was 435 miles from its Winston-Salem, N.C. campus — helped boost attendance and the monetary impact compared to previous years’ games, officials said.

The economic impact of successful bowl games is substantial and should be an important consideration in any process that alters the college football post season. If you’re going to make the argument that there are too many bowl games, then you’re going to have to justify the decision to contract the market by deciding which regional economies you’re going to harm by eliminating their bowl game.

In this economy, taking away an economic impact measured in hundreds of millions of dollars means a lot of people don’t have jobs. When people are out of work, or sympathizing with their brethren in that city down the road, they tend to care less about whether major college football has a postseason deemed acceptable by the zealots.

We may see a tightening of the number of bowl games in the years ahead. Falling average attendance figures point strongly to a market that’s nearing saturation. But completely eliminating the bowl games is not only a political impossibility, it’s bad economic policy.

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