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Tuesday, May 3, 2005
Visitors spent $110.18M in New Orleans

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- The 2005 Sugar Bowl produced an economic impact of $209.92 million for the city and state, according to a study completed by Dr. Timothy Ryan of the University of New Orleans.

"Dr. Ryan's study once again shows the tremendous effect that championship caliber college football can have for our city, the region and state," said Mark Romig, president of the Sugar Bowl Committee.

On January 3, Auburn, the undefeated champion of the Southeastern Conference, and Virginia Tech, the winner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, played before a sold-out crowd of 77,349. Auburn pulled out a 16-13 victory over the Hokies.

The bowl's overall economic impact was $110.18 million in direct visitor spending and an additional $99.74 million in secondary spending, Ryan's study concluded. State and local governments also realized $15.92 million in tax revenue.

"For 72 years, the Sugar Bowl has been one of the most reliable and forceful economic engines of tourism," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said.

According to Ryan's study, city hotels reaped substantial benefits from the Sugar Bowl. Nearly 80 percent of those attending the game stayed in local hotels and spent a combined $32.27 million. The average length of stay was 2.94 nights.

Restaurants and bars fared well also with bowl visitors spending $17.51 million in New Orleans area restaurants and another $13.49 million in local bars. Entertainment and shopping venues realized an estimated $16.59 million in new revenue from bowl guests, the report found.

"These numbers confirm that we're doing well by our charter mission, that being to host sporting events that positively affect our state and local economies," said Sugar Bowl executive director Paul Hoolahan. "Furthermore, being a member of the Bowl Championship Series offers us a platform to showcase New Orleans to national and international audiences on an annual basis."

According to the study, in addition to a large number of students (23.1 percent), typical Sugar Bowl visitors are largely employed in professional and management positions (51.1 percent) with average household incomes of nearly $87,000.

In response to questions about their favorite things in New Orleans, the leading answers from Sugar Bowl visitors were the food (26.6 percent) and the French Quarter/Bourbon Street (25.9 percent).

The Sugar Bowl now has generated more than $1.1 billion for the local and state economies over the past decade.