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Travel & Tourism
Salt Lake City – An ongoing study shows the University of Utah’s move to the Pac-12 Conference in 2011 continues to generate economic gain as well as improved perceptions of the U and the state.
According to the study, out-of-state football fans attending four Pac-12 football games at the U in 2012 spent an estimated $2.3 million on travel, food and lodging. Television revenues brought in an additional $8 million. Total revenues increased $1.8 million over the inaugural 2011 season, and are projected to support 275 jobs – generating earnings of $6.6 million and state tax revenue of approximately $660,000.
The number of out-of-state fans attending home games against Pac-12 opponents is double that for games played prior to joining the Pac-12 Conference. Although average per-game out-of-state ticket sales for home games in 2012 were lower than in 2011 – 1,056 in 2012 versus 1,272 for the 2011 – both years exceeded visitor ticket sales to home games in the Mountain West Conference, which averaged 546.
The study, which is being conducted over multiple years by the U’s Center for Public Policy & Administration and the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, also showed that the vast majority of visiting fans had a good experience during their stay. Of the fans polled, 87 percent said they were treated well or very well by Utah fans. Asked if their impressions of the university had changed during their visit, 43 percent said they had, and an impressive 98 percent of those say it changed for the better. Further, for those fans on their first visit to Utah, 62 percent said they were more likely to visit in the future because of their experience at the U.
“Since the U joined the Pac-12, more fans are visiting the state, spending more while they’re here and leaving with the idea of returning – that’s a win for the U and the state,” said Dianne Meppen, research associate at the Center who helped design and field the study for the 2012 season. “A bonus for the university is that nearly a quarter of those polled said they were more familiar with academics at the U than before.”