BSU Study: Sports arena pumps over $7 million into Boise’s economy
Boise State University’s Center for Business Research and Economic Development has released a study on the impact of CenturyLink Arena (formerly known as Qwest Arena) in downtown Boise, showing the arena and its affiliated sports franchises are a significant contributor to the local economy, pumping in about $7.7 million each year.
Economics professor Don Holley, who has been studying Idaho’s economy for more than three decades, was the lead researcher on the first-ever analysis of the arena’s operations. Arena owners Block 22 requested and provided funding for the assessment.
“One of the core competencies of the faculty in the Department of Economics is economic impact analysis and Don Holley has been at the center of many of these studies,” said Brian Greber, director of the Center for Business Research and Economic Development. “The key to doing credible economic impact work is to be sure the focus is on new dollars and new jobs that a business or activity brings to the economy. Utilizing university experts aids in credibility of these findings, and can help businesses and policy makers better understand their economy.”
According to the study, CenturyLink’s three operations — the arena, the Idaho Steelheads professional hockey team and the Idaho Stampede professional basketball team — account for the equivalent of fifty full-time jobs. That is significant, Holley said, given that in Ada County there are more than 12,000 firms and less than 5 percent of them have fifty or more employees.
The direct benefits of the operation are felt downtown, primarily in the bars and restaurants close to the arena, but secondary or indirect benefits are spread throughout the valley depending on where the employees live and spend their money.
A spokesman for BSU says that Boise State’s College of Business and Economics has engaged with hundreds of businesses and organizations during the past few years. The Center for Business Research and Economic Development serves as the central point for all outreach efforts.
Other recent projects include helping Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center develop a financial planning model for a pre- and post-natal immigrant care facility; working on volunteer handbooks for Global Lounge, an organization working to promote cultural diversity in the Treasure Valley; conducting market research for a manufacturing firm looking to relocate to the valley; and working on a strategic assessment of how to best use the Expo Idaho facilities.
The overall goal is to provide a foundation for business success, create a more robust climate for hiring and hone students’ skills under the mentorship of faculty and business partners, Greber said.
(photo courtesy: Idaho Steelheads)