Jan 25, 2011 4:30 PM
TUCSON - A study by a UA business student shows that the game between the UA and the University of Iowa last year brought almost $8.2 million to the local economy.
"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.
As part of an independent study project, MBA student Kevin Wittner said he conducted the study to prove his theory that collegiate athletics are not a drain, but an economic driver in the community.
Wittner collected 1,767 paper and online surveys, and used 763 valid ones, to determine that the direct visitor spending impact for the September 18 game was $8,160,0429.
Wittner made sure to separate out-of-area money from locally-spent money, counting only the "new" money when applying econokmic multipliers, said Alberta Charney, a research economist who reviewed Wittner's results.
"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."