Dig Baton Rouge

Something to Cheer About

By Cody Worsham

Mix purple and gold together, and the product is, like a football, brown.

Add a Tiger logo to the two shades, however, and the result is green – and lots of it.

According to an updated study by former LSU economics professor Dr. Loren C. Scott released last week – titled “It’s Not Just Entertainment: The Economic Impact of LSU Sports on Louisiana and The Baton Rouge Metro” – LSU Athletics generated $397.5 million in new sales to Baton Rouge area firms and $119.7 million in new household earnings in 2012.

The study, funded by the Tiger Athletic Foundation (TAF), also revealed LSU sports supported 3,948 jobs and generated $2.8 million in local sales taxes in 2012.

“LSU Athletics are a community investment,” LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva said. “This study shows the important impact that LSU Athletics have on the community, and how important it is for the community to help LSU Athletics through traffic, parking and support.”

Unsurprisingly, football is the cash cow. Statewide, LSU sports contributed $8 million in revenue to the state’s treasury, thanks to the massive amounts of people attracted to campus on game day. Scott said home games put more fans in Tiger Stadium than the number of people living in 49 of the 64 parishes in Louisiana, or about the same as the entire population of Lafourche Parish.

The average fan from out-of-state spent $237 per game in Louisiana, including $169 per game in the Baton Rouge metro area. Multiply that by seven games and hundreds of thousands of fans, and LSU football’s home schedule is worth $31.2 million in state spending, with $22.3 million of that total flowing into Baton Rouge businesses.

Fans from Louisiana, but not from Baton Rouge, spent $161 per game, including $122 in the city, for an in-state total of $62.8 million ($47.7 million in Baton Rouge) during the season.

“We are partners with the community,” Alleva said. “LSU Athletics has a huge financial impact on the Baton Rouge community.

The Tigers are also a boon to local construction. Over the past 14 years, LSU construction spending lead to $783 million in new sales at firms in the Baton Rouge area. Of that total, $250.3 million served as household earnings for Metro area residents. In turn, the spending on construction has created $20.3 million in taxes for the state treasury and $5.8 million in sales taxes for the Baton Rouge Metro area.

With Tiger Stadium set to expand to 100,000 seats by next season due to the South End Zone enclosure, those numbers can only go up, but it also increases the burden on the athletic department to ensure a high level of fan experience.

“It is really important that we provide a quality fan experience for all of our fans that make this possible,” said Alleva, “for the previous years, the 92,000 fans that have come and the over 100,000 fans that are soon to come. It is our job in athletics, and the community’s job, to make this experience as pleasant as possible. That includes parking and that includes traffic flow. We have had a traffic study done and we are going to partner with the city and the police to make that experience as seamless as possible.”

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