Mountain West Championship and its positive economic impact

Posted at 5:31 PM, Nov 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-29 19:31:13-05

While the Broncos haven't earned their conference championship hardware quite yet, one outcome is already certain when it comes to the big game, the extra chunk of change that will be added to Boise's piggy bank, and the positive economic ripples in store for all of southwest Idaho.

Bronco fan cheers were loud and proud after defeating number 14 Utah State University. It was the final hurdle Boise State needed to host the Mountain West Championship game, and also the indication that Boise's economy was about to get a big boost.

"A big sporting event can be very big business to the city of Boise," said Lynn Hightower, Executive Director for the Downtown Boise Association.

The game will likely bring Boise State fans from across the Mountain West, along with Fresno State's football team, and the fans they call the red wave. 

"They're coming here to cheer their favorite athlete, their favorite teams, they're generally in a good mood, and they're typically pretty liberal with opening their wallet," said Hightower.

Which will generate a lot of revenue for the city.

"Within minutes after Boise State defeated Utah State on Saturday last week, we actually saw our remaining rooms for this coming Friday and Saturday diminish and now we're actually sold out," said Steve Steading, General Manager of The Grove Hotel.

Amy Parrish, Director of Sales for the Inn at 500 Capitol, saw that same increase and said it will impact downtown businesses even more so than other Boise State sporting events,
"The impact is great when Boise State is winning particularly in these colder seasons, it greatly impacts our occupancy for hotels and restaurants and everything.”

And it's not just the extra cash that will be generated this weekend that will have a lasting economic impact, "It's putting Boise on a national showcase, and that's important for people who are also looking to possibly expand their business, possibly looking for a place to host their next national conference," said Hightower.

But it also produces a significant handoff to our surrounding cities.

"Boise State is more important to economic development in, not just the city of Boise, but really this entire region than sometimes we think about,” said Hightower.

While it's hard to know exactly how much money the championship game will generate, the Boise Convention and Visitor's Bureau calculated the 2018 Twilight Criterium alone generated $1.5 million for the city, and this event is expected to have a much higher impact.