Economic Impact Report Shows World Games Raised $165 Million; lower than initial projections

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (WBRC) – A new study have shown that world games did not bring as much money to the Birmingham economy as expected by the event organisers. Originally expected to generate over $250 million in revenue, the study showed that the economic impact was actually around 30% lower.

The study was published by the International World Games Association. He reports that this summer’s event raised $165 million economic impact. But, said a Birmingham councilor, while it might not be as much as they wanted, it’s still a lot of money spent in Birmingham.

Birmingham City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn said due to the early figures from the World Games he is not shocked the economic impact report is shorter than expected.

“If we didn’t have the ticket sales and the number of people that were originally anticipated, it makes sense that the economic impact would also be less,” O’Quinn said.

Although the games did not deliver what they expected, O’Quinn said the cost was only $65 million to put the games together. The study shows that there was a total attendance of 140,217 tickets.

“I think that’s a pretty healthy return on investment,” he said.

The economic impact is calculated from the money spent on hotels, restaurants and businesses. The study showed that more than 13,000 people came to Birmingham from out of town and the money spent. According to the report, the event created 99,039 hotel nights. The event also achieved a satisfaction rate of 91% for spectators and 86% for athletes.

“If you think of the conventions we do here, few of them reach that scale,” O’Quinn said.

Data showed the TV stream reached an audience of 268 million people worldwide.

β€œThere are benefits to hosting the World Games that won’t materialize for years,” O’Quinn said. “It really was like ten days of intensive publicity for the city of Birmingham, globally. If we had to go out and pay for it with a marketing agency, I’m sure it would have cost us a lot more than the investment we made.

Due to the pandemic, the Games were delayed for a year and the report showed that the delay caused the organizers an operating deficit of $14 million. He also said that many fans have chosen not to come anymore, for health reasons.

“The fact that we were able to achieve this in the midst of so many challenges is pretty amazing,” O’Quinn said.

The organizers of the World Games always endeavor to refund part of a $14 million in debt. It is planned to be paid to the BJCC next year.

The WBRC contacted the Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau and the CEO of the World Games for comment, but received no response.

Click on here to read the whole study.

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