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Slam Dunk: 2019 Final Four Expected to Generate Economic Impact of $142M

30 May, 2018

By: Michael Popke

Officials from the Super Bowl Host Committee in Minneapolis are expected to release an economic impact analysis from February’s Super Bowl 52 later this month. But the city is expecting another tourism windfall next year with the 2019 NCAA Men’s Final Four, which is coming to U.S. Bank Stadium (site of this year’s Super Bowl) next April.

That event will generate $142 million in spending and bring 94,000 non-resident visitors to the metropolitan area, according to Pennsylvania-based Rockport Analytics, which also produced a pre-event economic impact analysis for the Super Bowl and estimated the big game would result in $338 million in increased spending to the region.

“The $142 million final impact estimate is reached by subtracting the “displaced” normal tourism as well as an estimated $30 million in goods and services bought elsewhere, and then adding $39 million for a projected economic ripple effect, such as spending fueled by wages paid by Final Four-supporting jobs,” according to TwinCities.com.

But Rockport Analytics’ study did not consider hosting costs, which Minnesota Public Radionotes is necessary to make an accurate analysis of the Final Four’s total economic impact.

“You don’t just look at spending,” University of Minnesota economist Art Rolnick said. “You’ve got to look at what are the costs. You look at spending minus costs.”

MPR also reports that economists say sports event economic impact studies commissioned by host committees often exaggerate financial benefits.

“Take whatever number a consulting firm like Rockport says, move the decimal point one place to the left and that’s a pretty good estimate of the amount of money that’s actually going to wind up in Minnesotans’ pockets,” said Victor Matheson, a sports economics at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.

“In terms of impact, visitor spending is only one way to think about success,” Minneapolis Local Organizing Committee President and CEO Kate Mortenson said in a prepared statement. “In hosting the Final Four, we have a platform to not only amplify the tremendous benefits college sports provides for student-athletes, but also share what is special about ‘The North.’”

The organization is promoting the Final Four as “much more than two semifinal games on Saturday and a championship game on Monday.” FinalFourMinneapolis.comemphasizes that the weekend-long celebration “is as much for locals as it is for visitors, with interactive events for all ages, that ensure an inclusive celebration with something for everyone.”

Next year will mark the third time Minneapolis hosts the Final Four; games were played at the old Metrodome in 1992, and the 1951 championship game was held at the University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena. It’s also worth noting that the first-ever intercollegiate basketball gamewas played in Minnesota in 1895, at Hamline University in St. Paul.

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