“When you’re bringing in 60,000 people for six football games and you’re bringing in 10, 12, 13,000 in for basketball games, and then the other sports, what does that really mean in totality? I think now, we have a little bit harder numbers to say what we mean to this state and why it’s important.” – Shane Lyons, WVU Athletics Director.
WVU Athletics has a “significant” economic impact on the state of West Virginia, according to a new study.
WVU Athletics made a $302.7 million impact on the state of West Virginia during the 2017-18 academic year, with slightly more than $246 million stemming from fan and visitor spending.
WVU Athletics operations generated $56.6 million for the state and $15.5 million for Monongalia County in 2017-18.
According to the report, the overall economic impact of WVU football, which combines direct and indirect spending by visitors and WVU football operations, exceeded $223 million.
The overall economic impact of sports other than football and basketball was $13.7 million for the state and $6.9 million for the county.
Sporting events created an estimated 2,109 jobs, including 1,818 jobs from visitors. Kennedy defines these jobs as employment generated due to a game, such as gameday security, vendors, hospitality and more.
The overall economic impact of WVU men’s basketball was also estimated at $35.5 million for 2017.
Lyons said WVU Athletics commissioned Tripp Umbach in order to answer questions he had asked for nearly five years.
Tripp Umbach conducted the economic impact analysis, surveying six home sporting events from the 2017 football season and 2017-18 basketball season while collecting 613 fan surveys.
“When people come from outside of the county, it generates more of an impact than just people who are circulating their money in the community, because they would do that whether the university was here or not,” said Carrie Kennedy, principle project director for Tripp Umbach. “Those are the dollars that come into the economy in the county and really create the impact.”
With this new information in hand, Lyons believes WVU Athletics must still find new, better ways to engage fans in order to keep fans coming to sporting events. As the study shows, without fan engagement, the economic impact of WVU Athletics will shrink.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” said Lyons. “I want that stadium full each and every Saturday. Same thing with the Coliseum.”
This story first appeared in The NightCap, CollegeAD’s evening newsletter. The NightCap delivers the day’s college athletics news in simple bullet points, giving you what you need to know in just a few lines. Get The NightCap today.