April 13, 2016

AZ Business Magazine

College Football Playoff has $273.6M economic impact

The 2016 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship generated $273.6 million in economic impact, highest among Arizona’s eight college football title games, according to a study by the L. William Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.

An estimated 65,401 visitors came to Arizona for the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game and stayed an average of 3.88 nights. Visitors who attended the game spent an average of $467.93 per day and those who did not attend the game spent an average of $523.93 per day, according to the survey.

In comparison, the 2015 Super Bowl generated $719.4 million of direct economic impact while bringing in 121,775 visitors, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority. The 2016 College Football Playoff was the second of three major sporting events to come to Arizona in recent years, with the NCAA Final Four tournament being the final major event next year.

In addition to the economic impact, the survey estimated that $12.2 million in direct state, local and county sales tax revenue was generated from the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

But visitors spending money in Arizona, and enjoying what the state has to offer, isn’t the only benefit of hosting a large sporting event.

In an effort to drive business development, the Arizona Organizing Committee hosted a CEO Forum in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority. The program offered a first-hand look at the opportunities in Arizona to out-of-state business leaders who are considering relocating or expanding their businesses. Events included a Governor’s reception, professional development and tourist activities.

Executives from 24 out-of-state companies attended the CEO Forum during the days leading up to the National Championship Game, said Greg Linaman, COO at the Arizona Commerce Authority.

Four of the companies have announced plans to begin operating in Arizona, one of which is tech-firm ZipRecruiter, Linaman said. The other three firms have yet to make their plans public, he said.

“These projects represent about 650 total jobs, about $50 million of capital investment, and in the cases of these projects, incredible wages,” Linaman said. 

There are still several projects in the pipeline as a result of the CEO forums, other than the four that already committed, he mentioned.

Ducey noted a difference between the discussions during his first few weeks in office that occurred during the Super Bowl compared to the discussions during the National Championship games.

A year later, Ducey said businesses look at Arizona as a place open for business with a predictable political environment and a reputation that has moved forward.

The Governor also teased that a major announcement is currently in the que, and details will be released soon.

The 2016 CFP National Championship Game far outpaced Arizona’s previous college football championship games, including all four Bowl Championship Series title games:

  • 2016 CFP National Championship: (Alabama-Clemson): $273.6 million
  • 2011 BCS National Championship: (Auburn-Oregon) $204 million
  • 2007 BCS National Championship: (Florida-Ohio State) $171.5 million
  • 2003 BCS National Championship: (Ohio State-Miami) $153.7 million
  • 1999 BCS National Championship: (Tennessee-Florida State) $133 million

Researchers surveyed out-of-state visitors who came to Arizona for the Alabama-Clemson game on Jan. 11 at University of Phoenix Stadium. The survey also focused on three days of ancillary events that had not been part of previous title games. The Arizona Organizing Committee, comprised of Arizona sports, tourism and business leaders, worked with the CFP to execute the events.

“This spectacular news underscores the importance of mega sporting events to Arizona’s economy,” Ducey said. “When it comes to hosting championship-caliber events, Arizona is a top destination. The economic impact of the game and events is incredible, and the memories and positive experience that our great state offers to visitors is invaluable.”

Folks tend to question whether hosting these large events are worth it, because of the large sums of privately held money needed for the bidding process as well as public money needed to staff public safety offices, who usually work overtime for the events, Mayor Stanton said at a Wednesday announcement.

The significant and immediate economic impact (of these events), and with the long-term impact, at least in my mind, the answer is yes, we should continue to go after these big mega-events,” Stanton said.

Organizers estimated that 100,000 people flocked to downtown Phoenix for ancillary events at the Championship Campus Presented by Ak-Chin Indian Community, with another 100,000 attending other game-related events downtown.  The ancillary events included:

  • Playoff Fan Central at Phoenix Convention Center from Friday, Jan. 8 to Sunday, Jan. 10. Family-friendly events included pep rallies, interactive games and youth sports clinics.
  • AT&T Playoff Playlist Live! on Washington Street between First and Third Streets  in downtown Phoenix from Friday, Jan. 8 to Sunday, Jan. 10. The outdoor concert series included by performances by The Band Perry, Ciara, Walk the Moon and John Mellencamp. 

“In many ways, the economic impact report is the bottom line for events of this magnitude,” said Brad Wright, co-chair of the Arizona Organizing Committee (AOC). “This figure, combined with the tremendous economic development potential, captures the true value of the CFP championship game. The impact was felt across the state. We’re grateful to everyone who played a role in the resounding success of this event – from our community partners to the thousands of volunteers who made it all run flawlessly.”