The Economic Impact of the 2008 Women’s Final Four


“The Women’s Final Four has once again shown it is a proven winner on and off the court,” said Sue Donohoe, NCAA vice president of Division I women’s basketball. “Our corporate champions and corporate partners enjoy the strong outreach provided by our championship, and our loyal fans continue to support our game.” The $19.1 million economic impact includes $16,655,769 in visitor spending; $2,399,936 in organizational spending; and $1,835,927 in taxes and charges (including hotel taxes, car rental taxes, sales tax, and airport passenger facility charges). Overall, there were 22,595 visitors to the Tampa Bay area at the Women’s Final Four, the Time Out in Tampa event and Hoop City. Of this total, 21,067 were considered “valid visitors,” when excluding those who switched a planned trip to the host city to coincide with the Women’s Final Four; and those visiting for other reasons. Valid visitors stayed an average of 4.2 days and spent an average of $208 per day in Tampa, according to the study. When spending on merchandise is adjusted to account for only 20 percent of those funds staying in the host city, the average daily total spending by valid visitors was $190. The $190 spending figure includes $63 on food and beverage; $53 on lodging; $42 on transportation; $15 on retail shopping; $12 on non-NCAA entertainment; and $4 on merchandise.

I looked for the document on the Performance Research website, but couldn’t find it. It seems that the researchers rightly tried to exclude what I call “rearranged spending”, spending that would have occurred in the local area in the absence of the tournament. For instance, the article notes that they did not count attendees who had planned to come to Tampa anyways but switched their plans to attend the Final Four.

But it’s not clear whether they deleted any implicit or explicit public subsidization from the overall impact. It’s also not clear if any measures were taken to account for any folks who may have not come to or stayed in Tampa because of the Final Four. That’s not surprising since the survey was given to those who actually attended Final Four events. But it’s still part of the overall picture.

So without these numbers, I take this as an estimate of the gross impact.

Cross-posted at Market Power