The 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship generated $273.6 million in economic impact—highest among Arizona’s eight college football title games—according to a study by the L. William Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.

Researchers surveyed out-of-state visitors who came to Arizona for the Alabama-Clemson game on Jan. 11 at University of Phoenix Stadium. The survey also focused on three days of ancillary events that had not been part of previous title games. 

In addition to the economic impact, the survey estimated that $12.2 million in direct state, local and county sales tax revenue was generated from the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

“The economic impact is incredible, but equally important is the lasting impression we make on all that visit the Valley of the Sun and watch the game,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said during a media conference on Wednesday. “The evidence is in. We do it very well. We'll continue to be at the table. Whether it’s a Super Bowl, a national championship or other mega event, they’re all welcome to come to Phoenix.”

The College Football Playoff National Championship was the second of three mega sports events to be held in Greater Phoenix in as many years. Last February, the city hosted the Super Bowl for the third time, and next March it will host the NCAA Men’s Final Four.

“Phoenix is thrilled to play a leading role in the overall success of the CFP National Championship Game,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said. “As the attendance figures show, our downtown once again proved to be the ideal destination for major special events. These events attract vast new audiences to experience downtown’s growth and changes—and they’re a source of pride for our own residents.”

In an effort to drive business development, the Arizona Organizing Committee—a collection of sports, tourism and business leaders who worked with the CFP to host the championship events—hosted a CEO Forum in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority. The program offered a firsthand look at the opportunities in Arizona to out-of-state business executives who are considering relocating or expanding their businesses. Events included a Governor’s reception, professional development and visitor activities.

Four of the 24 executives Arizona officials met with have made commitments to work in the state, said Greg Linaman, the chief operating officer for the Arizona Commerce Authority. Linaman said these commitments represent 650 jobs and $15 million in capital investment.

“Just like the knowledge-industry conventions that we book into the convention center and downtown hotels, mega sports events like the CFP National Championship bring job creators and business innovators to right the front doorstep of our city,” said Steve Moore, president and CEO of Visit Phoenix. “And thanks to its television audience and media reach, the CFP National Championship—like the Super Bowl before it and the Final Four to come—was essentially a giant postcard from Phoenix to the world.” 

An estimated 65,000 visitors came to Arizona for the 2016 CFP National Championship Game and stayed an average of 3.9 nights, according to the survey. Visitors who attended the game spent an average of $468 per day, and those who did not attend the game spent an average of $524 per day.

The 2016 CFP National Championship Game far outpaced Arizona’s previous college football championship games, including all four Bowl Championship Series title games:

  • 2016 CFP National Championship: (Alabama-Clemson): $273.6 million
  • 2011 BCS National Championship: (Auburn-Oregon) $204 million
  • 2007 BCS National Championship: (Florida-Ohio State) $171.5 million
  • 2003 BCS National Championship: (Ohio State-Miami) $153.7 million
  • 1999 BCS National Championship: (Tennessee-Florida State) $133 million
    (All figures from ASU W.P. Carey School of Business studies.)

Organizers estimated that 100,000 people flocked to downtown Phoenix for ancillary events at the Championship Campus Presented by Ak-Chin Indian Community, with another 100,000 attending other game-related events downtown.

The ancillary events included Playoff Fan Central at the Phoenix Convention Center and the AT&T Playoff Playlist Live! in the heart of downtown Phoenix. The former was a three-day festival of family-friendly events that included pep rallies, interactive games and youth sports clinics; the latter was concert series that featured performances by The Band Perry, Ciara, Walk the Moon and John Mellencamp. Video Link

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