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HAMMOND – The two post-season NCAA football playoff games held in Hammond in December 2013 and hosted by the Southland Conference championship team at Southeastern Louisiana University had an estimated total economic impact of more than $835,000 on Tangipahoa Parish, according to a study released Thursday (Feb. 27).
Conducted by the Southeastern Business Research Center with assistance by the Tangipahoa Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, results of the study, which looked exclusively at outside spending by visiting teams and fans, were announced at the Hammond Chamber of Commerce's general meeting.
Participating in a round table discussion on the study were Hammond Chamber Chair Donna Taylor; Stacey Neal, executive director of Tangipahoa Parish Economic Development and president of the Southeastern Alumni Association; Carla Tate, executive director of the Tangipahoa Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau; Hammond Mayor Mayson Foster; and Jay Artigues, Southeastern director of athletics.
"The Lions being in the NCAA playoffs provided an unexpected economic boost to to our local tourist industry at a great time for our local businesses," Tate said.
After winning the Southland Conference Championship by defeating all seven conference opponents and recording a 10-2 regular season record, the Lions earned a bye in the first round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. They won their first playoff game against Sam Houston State University (SHSU) on Dec. 7, and advanced to the quarter-finals, losing to the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Dec. 14. The two games held in Southeastern's Strawberry Stadium, attracted between 5,000 and 6,000 fans each.
The analysis used the input-output method commonly employed to estimate economic impacts, according to Business Research Center economist Herb Holloway. The method is based on economic linkages between various sectors and industries, which cause every dollar of expenditures to "ripple through" the local economy. This results in every dollar of expenditure being multiplied to various degrees, causing a larger economic effect than the original amount of the expenditure.
To help ensure accuracy in the study, the Business Research Center estimated only "new" money coming into the parish from visitors – classified as either "day-trippers" or "overnight visitors" – and did not include money spent by local and area residents, assuming that money would be spent locally whether the events occurred or not. Overnight visitors typically tend to spend substantially more money in the local economy than day-trippers. Since no survey of attendees was conducted to collect spending estimates from visitors, data from other college football economic studies were used in making impact calculations.
Day-trippers, who were assumed to be all ticket purchasers from Mississippi and Louisiana, excluding Tangipahoa Parish, were estimated at 3,122 for both games combined, while overnight visitors (ticket buyers from all states other than LA and MS) were estimated at 1,041 for both games combined. Day trippers were estimated to spend approximately $106 in Tangipahoa Parish, including the price of their ticket, while overnight visitors were estimated to spend $257 locally per game.
The visiting teams brought an estimated 4,163 fans and 200 athletes and support personnel from outside Tangipahoa Parish. These fans and visiting teams spent an estimated $645,723 within the parish while attending the games, generating approximately 404 hotel room nights for the SHSU game and 175 for the UNH game, according to counts provided by the Tangipahoa Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The estimated spending by all visitors for the Sam Houston game totaled approximately $363,000, with the largest amount – about 45 percent or $163,853 – in the eating and drinking category.
For the UNH game, the estimated total spending was $282,704. Again, the largest category of spending was eating and drinking at approximately $130,164.
"It is remarkable to see the alumni and community that have become engaged as a result of our winning football team," said Neal of the Alumni Association. "We saw individuals who traveled despite the inclement weather and sat in the stands in the cold, rainy mist to cheer on the Lions. Their love for Southeastern really showed through when you saw them wearing green and gold, not just in the stands, but in the parish schools and in businesses. The success of Southeastern has a domino effect; as Southeastern succeeds so do the surrounding communities."
"We're fortunate to have a loyal and enthusiastic fan base supporting the Lion football program," Artigues said. "We were privileged to provide the Lion Nation with a historic season and an entertaining playoff run. The Lions don't just belong to Southeastern, but to the whole region, so we're grateful our success on the field was beneficial to the area's economy."