ARIZONA NEWS

Is the Valley making money on hosting the biggest events in sports?

Mar 28, 2017, 4:10 AM | Updated: 11:13 am
The floor for next weekend's NCAA men's college basketball tournament Final Four is laid in place F...

The floor for next weekend's NCAA men's college basketball tournament Final Four is laid in place Friday, March 24, 2017, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Bob Baum)

(AP Photo/Bob Baum)

PHOENIX — In the last three years, Arizona has hosted the Super Bowl, the college football championship game, and this weekend’s NCAA Final Four.

Is the Valley making money off of these events?

“We certainly are not losing money as a Valley,” said Michael Mokwa, Pat Tillman Foundation professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

While the words ‘economic impact’ are often utilized and can be controversial, Mokwa said, it should be really looked at more of an ‘economic infusion.’

“It is the infusion of funds brought into our local economy, the total Valley area, by everyone who is here predominantly for the event,” he said. “[Or] it’s the amount of money that people who are outside of our economy and are visiting predominantly for the event will spend during that period of time.”

Last year, the College Football Playoff National Championship game generated almost $275 million from outside visitors. Another $170 million came because of the Fiesta Bowl that was hosted here that same week.

“When we move it to the scale of the Super Bowl a couple years ago, we’re talking about $720 million dollars,” he said.

The Final Four is unpredictable though, and there have not really been economic studies of the event in the past completed in other cities, he said. Plus there are several variables to consider; do the four teams that make it travel well? Two teams will lose Saturday night, so will their fans go home?

“I would guess the economic impact might approximate the champ game impact,” he said. “So in the $250 [million] range, maybe higher … maybe even significantly higher.”

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Is the Valley making money on hosting the biggest events in sports?