As a researcher working in the area of the economic impact of sport, I try my best to keep up with the “state of the art” in forecasting economic impact. Like many other fields, work in this exciting area moves forward at breakneck speed. It seems that every week brings fantastic new breakthroughs in sports subsidy technology. Consultants at the cutting edge of forecasting the expected economic impact of sporting events are continually “pushing the envelope” of economic impact estimates. In my professional opinion, it is only a matter of time before advances in multiplier technology and cutting edge assumptions about impact areas and daily tourist spending break through the legendary “billion dollar barrier” and usher in a new era in economic impact analysis.
The latest breakthrough comes to us from Washington state, where the 2015 US Open was recently awarded to a public golf course in Tacoma. According to this article, the local government “invested” $21 million in a new golf course, Chambers Bay, that opened a few months ago. This $21 million “investment” is a pittance compared to the estimated $100 million in economic impact that the community will receive from hosting the 2015 US Open golf tournament. Yes, that’s correct, $100 million in economic impact from a week long event that will attract about 60,000 spectators. As astute County Executive John Ladenburg points out, that forecast makes those chumps in Seattle who only got a forecast of $50 million in economic impact for the 2001 MLB All Star game look like pikers.