The New York Jets 2009 Summer Training Camp attracted 34,000 spectators and generated $4.26 million in economic activity in Cortland County, according to a study released on Nov. 3 by three SUNY Cortland faculty members.
The report, which was prepared by SUNY Cortland Associate Professors of Economics Kathleen Burke and Timothy Phillips along with Assistant Professor of Geography Wendy Miller, involved surveys of training camp visitors as well as local business owners conducted in connection with the July 31-Aug. 20 professional football training camp on the SUNY Cortland campus.
"I am absolutely delighted to learn the wonderful news about the Jets impact on the economy of central New York," said SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum. "One of the reasons we pursued the training camp was the positive economic impact we thought it would have locally. The results of the study verify that it was the right thing to do."
"We also made a decision to fund the study because we wanted to be accountable to the state of New York for helping to bring the Jets camp here. We wanted to be able to accurately report the effect of the training camp on the local economy."
"On April 20, 2009, SUNY Cortland became the Official University Partner of the New York Jets by signing an agreement to host the Jets 2009 Summer Training Camp on the Cortland campus," the researchers explained in their study. "This partnership set into motion a collaborative effort between the Cortland community and the College to ensure a welcoming environment not only for the Jets players, coaches and staff, but for the thousands of visitors that would come to get an up-close view of the New York Jets as they prepared for the 2009 season."
"The money spent by these visitors injected new dollars into our local economy," noted the researchers, who used a "total value method" to calculate the impact this spending had on the local economy.
The researchers first determined the total direct expenditures, that is, the spending by SUNY Cortland and the Cortland community due to the presence of the Jets along with the spending by the visitors attending the Camp. They then used RIMS II, an input-output analysis obtained through the Bureau of Economic Analysis, to come up with a multiplier of 1.775 to gauge the indirect effect that spending had on the local economy.
"For every dollar expended, that dollar has a reoccurring impact on the economy due to its re- expenditure within the local community," wrote the researchers. "This impact is called the multiplier effect."
Overall, training camp visitors spent more than $1.85 million, creating an economic impact of more than $3.26 million and accounting for 76 percent of the overall economic impact in Cortland County. SUNY Cortland's expenditures of $546,000 in direct spending created an economic impact of $957,000 or 24 percent of the total. The remaining one percent stemmed from the Cortland community's $25,000 to help prepare for hosting the Jets camp.
"The direct expenditures by SUNY Cortland and the Cortland Community were provided to us by each group, respectively. In order to determine the direct spending of the spectators, however, a survey was designed and distributed outside the gate at the Jets Training Camp at both the morning and afternoon sessions. Our survey accounted for 8,712 individuals who attended the camp. Sixty-eight percent of these visitors were adults and 32 percent were children."
These visitors came from two Canadian provinces and 30 U.S. states, with the vast majority - 90 percent - coming from New York where 58 of the 62 New York counties were represented. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina and Ontario, respectively, produced the most out-of-state visitors.
Cortland County residents accounted for 24 percent of the visitors to training camp. Residents of the counties adjacent to Cortland - Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Madison, Onondaga, Tioga, and Tompkins -comprised 44 percent of the total camp visitors. Twenty-three percent came from other New York counties and nine percent travelled from outside the state.
Visitors' average spending on retail was $36. However, these dollars in retail spending were predominantly spent inside the Jets merchandise tent at the training camp.
"All revenues from these purchases went to the Jets and not to Cortland County, thus these retail expenditures were not included in the overall impact," the researchers stated. "Furthermore, all expenditures by residents of Cortland County were removed from the calculations. These dollars would presumably be spent in Cortland County, that is, these dollars are not new money being introduced into our community."
"Per person, average spending on food was $27 per day which accounted for 36 percent of the overall visitors' expenditure, while gasoline expenditures, an average of $29 per day, accounted for eight percent and hotel expenditures accounted for two percent."
In all, 12 percent of the visitors surveyed reported that they stayed over for at least one night. Of those who did, 66 percent lodged in a hotel, bed and breakfast or nearby campground. Revenue for the local hotels (in the aggregate) increased 6.4 percent in August 2009 as compared to August 2008. Furthermore, hotel occupancy increased nearly two percent as compared to August 2008.
Visitors from counties adjacent to Cortland County contributed $1.09 million, or 59 percent of the direct spending. Visitors from other counties in New York State spent $556,416 or 30 percent of the direct spending. Out-of-state visitors spent $204,019 in the Cortland community, representing 11 percent of the total figure.
With regard to increased economic impact on Main Street, some 60 percent of the pubs and bars, 46 percent of the restaurants and 28 percent of the retail businesses increased their inventory in preparation for the Jets camp.
"This increase in inventory paid off," noted the study. "The pubs and restaurants reported the greatest increase in customers compared to retail stores and other businesses. Eighty percent of the pubs and bars saw an increase in customers while 46 percent of the restaurants reported the increase. Retail and other types of businesses on Main Street did not see an appreciable increase in customers while the Jets were in town."
The report pointed out that the training camp "brought the community together with a single purpose, to welcome the NY Jets to Cortland in the most professional and hospitable way possible."
Toward that end, a community group was formed with representatives from the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce, the BDC/IDA, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Cortland Regional Sports Council, the Cortland County Innkeepers Association, the Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the city of Cortland, and Cortland County.
The group spent a total of $24,472 as part of the training camp preparations. Thirty eight percent, or $9,472, was devoted to marketing - decorative flags and banners, brochures and a Web site for visitor information. Thirty-six percent, or $9,000, was spent on services - portable bathrooms, acquiring use of an auxiliary lot and shuttle service. The group spent $6,000, or 24 percent, on signage to help direct visitors to the training camp. One percent, $340, accounted for construction - flagpoles, painting materials and the corresponding labor.
SUNY Cortland spent $545,604, of which $410,000 was an Empire Development Grant from the State of New York, to host the Jets. The team used several College facilities in addition to the Stadium Complex, e.g., Studio West, Glass Tower Hall, Neubig Hall, West Campus Apartments, Park Center Alumni Arena. The largest SUNY Cortland expenditure, $240,000 or 44 percent, was devoted to construction, much of which was targeted toward improvements in the Route 281 lot and the entrance on Lankler Drive.
Lastly, the report noted the intangible benefits to SUNY Cortland and the community that resulted from the Jets training camp, such as the free daily media exposure in the nation's number one market, New York City, and in national outlets such as ESPN and Sports Illustrated.
Tangible benefits to SUNY Cortland include the many improvements to the College's athletic fields, marketing opportunities at the Meadowlands Stadium and at the Jets headquarters in Florham Park, N.J., internships for its students, access to players and coaches during training camp, and Super Bowl tickets and Jets memorabilia that will be raffled to generate funds for scholarships.