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1/28/11 - Study surveys Viking Classic's economic impact

Researchers at Mississippi State have determined the Magnolia State's only PGA Tour event contributed millions to the region's economy last fall.

After statistical analysis of the survey results and economic modeling, the total impact of the Viking Classic on the Mississippi economy in gross output or sales was estimated at approximately $22 million.

Commissioned by the Mississippi Development Authority, the study surveyed about 2,500 attendees at the Sept. 27-Oct. 3 tournament at Annandale Golf Club in Madison.

The interviews conducted by College of Business undergraduate students collected information on number of spectators, residency, length of stay in the local area, number in party, where they stayed, and how much they spent per party at the tournament. This and other information was used to develop the spending profile of tournament spectators.

"It's a significant amount," said Becky Smith, an economist for the College of Business who coordinated the project with Garen Evans and Al Myles, MSU Extension economists in the agricultural economics department. "But other numbers help tell the complete story of the tournament's effects on the economy."

The impact of total value added (TVA) was estimated at $12.5 million. TVA is more accurate as a measure of the economic impact than spending, because it reflects the returns in rents, wages, interest, and profits. This economic activity supported 362 jobs in Mississippi, including 280 jobs directly attributable to the event itself, and another 77 jobs throughout the rest of the economy through indirect (39 jobs) and induced (38 jobs) effects.

Smith said, the positive impact on jobs in the state, even if temporary, was an increase in labor income, which includes wages, salaries and proprietor's income. MSU researchers estimate the total impact of the Viking Classic on labor income in Mississippi was $7.2 million. This included $4.9 million of income directly attributable to the event itself, and another $2.3 million of income that resulted from indirect and induced impacts.

It also was estimated that sales tax collections in Mississippi related to the Viking Classic were approximately $1.5 million.

The top business sectors affected by the tournament were hotels and motels, retail stores (including clothing, food and beverage, general merchandise and gasoline stations) and spectator sports companies.

Of note, the findings of the study do not include the economic impact and value-added advertising exposure from tape-delayed broadcast of tournament rounds by The Golf Channel and coverage by other media outlets, both local and national.

Other findings include:

--About 12 percent of participants were from out-of-state (spending by non-locals represents "new dollars" into the regional economy).

--Estimated average spending per party per day was approximately $515 for in-state spectators and $740 for out-of-state spectators.

--Average stay per party was 2.28 days at the tournament.

--Median ages of in-state and out-of-state visitors were 40 and 45, respectively.

--More than half of both in-state and out-of-state visitors had incomes above $40,000 a year. A majority had incomes above $75,000 annually.

--As expected, out-of-state visitors spent significantly more each day than in-state visitors. For example, the average party of out-of-state visitors spent about $86 on food, $126 on hotel or motel lodging, and $123 on clothes to name a few.

Projects like the Viking Classic survey are part of the mission of the College of Business, Smith said. "Besides teaching and research, we see ourselves as a resource for the state's business community and economic development efforts," she added.

Played annually in September, the tournament is named for its main sponsor, Viking Range Corp., a Greenwood-based company.

For additional information about the Viking Classic study, contact Smith at (662) 325-7473 or bsmith@cobilan.msstate.edu.

For additional information about research at Mississippi State, visit http://www.research.msstate.edu.

JIM LAIRD | University Relations and the Office of Research and Economic Development

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