Despite interference from a late season tropical storm, Bayfest 2013 may have injected at least $33.3 million into the city’s economy, according to a new economic impact report by Dr. Christopher Keyshock, an assistant professor of sport and recreation administration at the University of South Alabama’s Department of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Studies.
In its 19th year, the sale of single-day passes dropped 15 percent because of the threat of severe weather, but the scaled-back music festival still drew roughly 156,800 “true economic tourists” to the city, about 20 percent less than the year before.
Those who did attend were credited with spending an average of $173.93 over the three-day weekend, leading to a conservative economic impact for city of $33,366,958 including $25.3 million in visitor spending, $1.9 million in organizational spending and $2.4 million in tax generated. Another $3.6 million was credited to local and sponsor spending.
For the county, there was a total conservative economic impact of $29,910,578 including $20,452,940 in visitor spending, $1.9 million in organizational spending, $703,518 in taxes and $6.7 million in resident and sponsor spending.
Bayfest 2013 also created at least $17,771,571 in economic activity for the state, according to the study.
BayFest 2013 Economic Impact Study
Impact estimate values were derived from random sample on-site survey data gathered from spectator and business traveler responses, from an evaluation of BayFest cash flow statements and related data sources.
The numbers above represent a multiplier of 2.5, which is commonly used in other economic impact reports in the region, but Keyshock also performed another analysis with a multiplier of 1.7. Keyshock and BayFest presented the study to the mayor’s office and city council May 6.
All-in-all, the study suggests the city enjoyed at least a 306 percent return on it’s $243,000 taxpayer investment in last year, while the county received a 41 percent ROI on its $200,000 contribution to the event.
The organization is asking for a $350,000 allocation from the city in 2015.
“We’ve paid for these studies five years in a row and there is a lot of data,” said BayFest president Bobby Bostwick, who referred specific questions about the study to Keyshock. “Now we can be absolutely comfortable that I tell the city or county this is not just numbers thrown out there. There is a lot of research and development. My hope is that (the city) sees it as ‘for every dollar I invest in BayFest, I got three and half back.’”