Philadelphia received a $94.9 million economic boost during three days in April, when a record-breaking crowd of 250,000 people showed up for the NFL Draft.
According to a recently released study commissioned by the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau and conducted by Temple University’s Sport Industry Research Center, visitors spent $56.1 million at hotels, restaurants, bars and retail shops, with an additional $38.8 million coming from indirect and induced spending.
By comparison, when the NFL Draft was held in Chicago in 2015 and 2016, the total economic impact was $81 million, according to Philly.com, with estimated crowds of 200,000.
City tourism officials initially projected an economic impact of $80 million from the 2017 NFL Draft, and the event — held April 27-29 along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and in an open-air theater — drew the largest crowed in NFL Draft history. The city’s outlay for all of this? Just $500,000.
“We were reimbursed for any costs over $500,000,” a spokesperson for Mayor Jim Kenney’s office told Philly.com. “The $500,000 would include anything the city spent. It could range from first-responder services, to streets cleanup, to special events, to health inspectors in the food tents. It would cover a whole range of things.”
Other highlights from Temple’s report:
Of the 250,000 attendees, 63 percent were from out of town and 17 percent stayed overnight at paid accommodations such as hotels and Airbnb sites.
The report was based on a post-event survey of 4,794 attendees from 42 states. Of those, 93 percent said the draft was the primary reason for their visit, 79 percent would recommend Philadelphia as a travel destination and 62 percent plan to return to Philadelphia within the next 12 months.
Hotel-room revenue was up 11.4 percent year over year during the draft’s peak days. The event generated an additional $2.1 million in room revenue for regional hotels compared with levels of one year ago, plus an extra $1.2 million in Philadelphia itself. The 18,991 hotel room nights sold, however, were below initial projections.
The draft helped support more than 30,000 jobs and generated an estimated $38.5 million in personal income, plus $7.9 million in state and city taxes from income tax, sales tax and hotel tax.
More than 1,800 members of the media (including Sports Destination Management) journeyed to Philadelphia, and more than 2,350 print, digital and broadcast draft-related stories mentioned the city between September 2016 and May 2017.
The NFL has not yet announced the site of the 2018 draft, but 20 cities have made pitches. If economic impact numbers like the ones Philadelphia is touting become the norm, we imagine the number of cities competing to host future drafts will increase substantially.