Hoopfest economic impact

Promoters say 250,000 people will bring $38 million to Spokane: Hoopnomics: Hoopfest’s multi-million dollar impact on Spokane | Spokane/E. WA – KXLY.com.

Where did the 250,000 estimate come from? A survey done in 2006.  Information on the survey is not available but some background information was referenced in a book, a portion of which is indexed by Google.

38 million divided by 250,000 is $152 per person being spent. The organizers assume half (125,000) are from out of town based on the 2006 survey. The survey did not distinguish between this estimated spending and spending that would have happened anyway:

The study did not account for the economic activities that may or may not have taken place in the absence of Hoopfest.

What that means: if a local participant spent some money on Hoopfest weekend, it is money they likely would have spent on something else. We end up with a transfer of spending from say, the Valley Mall or a movie theater, to a restaurant downtown. The overall impact to the local area is unchanged. Spending was shifted from beneficiaries in Spokane Valley to downtown Spokane. The net economic impact is zero.

There are also non-economic impacts including having fun and community pride in hosting a large event.

Here is a comparison to Bloomsday – the majority of Bloomsday participants are local or regional. Obviously, both events have economic benefits but the benefits are likely less than the headline numbers presented by promoters and unquestionably repeated by the media.


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