MILWAUKEE (AP) - Nearly half the fans at Milwaukee Brewers games drive in from outside the local five-county metropolitan area, and their spending provides an economic impact of about $263 million per year, according to a new study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
The team is drawing about 2.6 million fans each season, about 1 million more than it attracted in its final years at County Stadium. Officials with the Miller Park stadium district say a big reason is the new stadium's retractable roof, which prevents rainouts, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The study looked at fans from counties outside Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington, and Waukesha counties. It didn't consider the economic impact of fans from within that metropolitan area, under the assumption that if the Brewers weren't around those residents would find other entertainment on which to spend those same dollars.
About 45 percent of fans at home games are non-local. Don Smiley, the board chairman of the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District, said the parking lots are often filled with cars and buses from throughout the state and the Midwest.
"The Brewers' annual series with the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Twins consistently brings many of their respective fans to our region, occupying local hotels, and supporting local restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues," he said Tuesday.
In addition to the $263 million impact of the fans, the team's spending injects another $93 million per year into the region's economy, the study found. That spending comes in the form of paying for Miller Park operations, local employees, marketing, broadcasting and other expenses. It does not include players' salaries and benefits.
Robert Leib is the managing member of Mequon-based Leib Advisors, which provides financial advice to sports teams and facility owners. He said the study's analysts calculated the economic impact by multiplying every $1 spent by out-of-district fans by a factor of 2.1. Leib, who was not involved in the study, said that multiplier was reasonable, although he generally uses a multiplier of 2.
A multiplier takes into account the broader effect of spending. For example, when a fan spends money on food or drink, the cash pays for the product and for a worker to serve it. When the server gets paid, that person in turn spends the money locally.
So if a distant fan spent $1, the study counted the economic impact as worth $2.10.
The analysis was commissioned by Major League Baseball.
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