Rodeo packs economic jolt
02/08/2007 11:48 PM CST
see it as a second Christmas.
The 58th San
Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, which is into the ninth day of its
17-day run at the AT&T Center, is primarily about raising money
for educational endeavors that strengthen the agricultural
industry, said veteran banker and longtime rodeo official Tom
But it also
honors the area's agrarian roots, keeps rodeoing healthy and
pumps a lot of money into the local economy.
"It's a big deal
dollar-wise," said Frost, vice chairman of the board of the
nonprofit organization that puts on the rodeo.
At Paris Hatters
on Broadway, the jump in revenue leading up to and during the
rodeo may reach 60 percent, said owner Abe Cortez.
marketing director for Cavender's Boot City, said his stores
generate 20 percent to 25 percent more revenue when the rodeo's
kind of like Christmas," said George Harris at Harris Western
Center in Lytle.
But precisely how
much effect the rodeo has on the local economy hasn't been
calculated. Steve Nivin, chief economist for the San Antonio
Economic Development department, said an initial evaluation
showed out-of-town visitors spent nearly $46 million on
rodeo-related activities last year. But that doesn't include how
much local rodeo visitors spent or any multiplier effect that
counts how money recirculates through the economy.
estimate the total annual economic impact exceeds $100 million.
Officials are crunching numbers to develop a better estimate,
but considering the numbers produced by rodeos of similar size,
$100 million may be conservative.
The Fort Worth
Stock Show & Rodeo, which just ended, also believes its
performances generate more than $100 million for the local
economy, based on studies that show about a third of the rodeo
visitors come from out of town.
The Fort Worth
rodeo set an attendance record last year with 955,800 visitors.
That's about 198,000 fewer than attended the San Antonio rodeo.
Livestock Show and Rodeo is larger than San Antonio's with more
than 1.7 million visitors in 2005, its most recent economic
impact analysis. That study estimated a $344 millioneconomic
impact for the Houston area, which includes $210.5 million from
"new money" impact, or spending by nonresidents that otherwise
would not have circulated in the local economy.
president of Birchhill Enterprises, an analysis firm that is
updating economic numbers for Fiesta officials, said special
events get their biggest boost from spending by nonresidents.
impact is unique, Nagel said, because each draws differing
levels of out-of-towners. In addition, the income level of the
visitors varies from event to event.
"A NASCAR race
draws a different crowd from an arts festival," Nagel said. He
has yet to assess the economic punch of a rodeo.
The 10-day Fiesta
celebration in San Antonio produces $254 million in revenue,
according to a 2002 study, said Fiesta San Antonio Commission
spokeswoman Anne Cannon. She said the event draws 3 million to
3.5 million people a year, although some who visit several
events may be counted more than once. About 20 percent of the
visitors are believed to be out-of-towners.
The San Antonio
rodeo broke attendance records in 2006 with a total that
approached 1.2 million people. Officials said surveys showed
that more than 22 percent of the visitors stayed in a hotel and
43 percent spent between $101 and $500. Another 44 percent spent
less than $100 and 9 percent spent $501 to $1,000.
Nelson Wolff said the rodeo's impact is significant, although a
precise dollar figure would require more study. He agreed Fiesta
is the community's top-drawing annual event, but "the rodeo
would be right behind that."
brings in a lot of people from around the state and Mexico,"
said their business has jumped because of the rodeo, though not
At the Holiday
Inn Express Rivercenter on East Commerce, occupancy has
increased the most on weekends when big-name entertainers are
performing at the rodeo, said Jesus Rivera, general manager.
Still, he said more guests "are heading west" toward the River
Walk and downtown rather than east toward the rodeo.
The less tangible
economic benefits of the rodeo include the boost it provides
agriculture through competitions and scholarships that keep top
students involved in the industry.
say more than 3,000 students have benefited from its fund since
the first scholarships were offered in 1984. Last year,
scholarships, auction payments to junior livestock winners and
other proceeds were part of a $7.2 million contribution to
Officials hope to
add another $1 million in scholarships this year, said Glen Alan
Phillips, the rodeo's assistant executive director.
"Kids work real
hard at this," said Robin Reed, who this week helped her
ninth-grade daughter Amanda mind the first animal she's had
judged at a show. "Our daughter wants to be an animal
geneticist. This is like the start of her future."
The rodeo, which
features two televised shows this year, also helps promote the
city as a tourist center and is a popular event with local
residents, many of whom have attended since their youth.
"It's hard to
tell how it compares to things like the Alamo Bowl and Fiesta,
but all of these things together are what make San Antonio an
interesting place to come to," said Jorge Gonzalez, a Trinity