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The Economic Impact of the Demise of the Big XII – Waco

2010 June 13
by Phil Miller

A Waco economist, RayPerryman, has prepared an economic impact statement about the impact of the demise of the Big XII on Waco and Texas (via a commenter to another TSE post, Millsy):

The report Perryman shared Thursday includes an estimated $714 million loss in annual expenditures in the state of Texas.

Waco’s potential hit could reach $196.7 million annually. Those losses include tourism — money spent at restaurants, hotels, stores, gas stations, etc. — television revenue and other areas, he said.

Additionally, Perryman projects the loss of 5,764 jobs statewide and 1,677 in the Waco area if Baylor is not in the same conference as the other Texas Big 12 schools.

Stop me if you know where this is going.

There’s a small chance that the rest of the Big XII will stay together and press on, but most reports I’ve seen have Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State going to the Pac 10 and Texas A&M going to either the Pac 10 or the SEC.  Those are power conferences with name-brand schools that have fans that travel.  So while College Station, home of the A&M Aggies, won’t see anymore Husker fans travelling down for gameday, they’ll instead see Alabama Crimson Tide fans or USC Trojan fans coming down for the weekend.

It’s like taking a 2008 five-dollar bill from your pocket and replacing it with a 2009 five-dollar bill.  You still have five dollars in your pocket.  It’s just a different dollar.  So I’ll go out on a limb and predict there will be no net impact on the huge Texas economy if the Big XII dissolves.

And the numbers for Waco seem overblown.  If the Big XII falls, Baylor is most likely going to end up in a less prestigious conference and playing schools with smaller fan bases than Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.  That will be a psychological blow to Baylor fans for sure.  But the size of the visiting fan bases, whatever schools they come from, is not going to drop to zero.   They may not travel with the zeal of Longhorn, Aggie, Sooner, or Husker fans (who only came down every four years in football and almost never for basketball games).  But someone will come, albeit with different school colors.

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