by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
I got a chuckle out of a toss-off line toward the end of The News & Observer’s article on the second Raleigh Rock’n’Roll Marathon [RnR] this weekend. Here’s the line:
An accurate estimation of economic impact [of the race] for this year will be available in July.
Not just an estimation, an accurate estimation. I doubt we will get that! Last year’s estimation highly dubious, as I explained here. The report estimated about 18,000 race-related visitors (essentially the same amount as a Carolina Hurricanes game) and an impact of $8.1 million (about eight times as much as a hockey game).
A more accurate estimation would have to weigh the positive economic impact to the city on race day (a) against the business lost on or before race day from street closures and publicized warnings in traditional and also social media about closures, possible traffic snarls, etc. while (b) discounting participation from locals who would otherwise be spending money in Raleigh.
This year, according to the N&O, the race attracted 4,000 fewer runners. As R.L. Bynum reported for Raleigh & Company, the two other marathons offering half-marathons in Wake County experienced higher participation in the second year than the first.
With respect to participants, a significant portion were locals:
[Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance executive director Scott] Dupree says that 40 percent of this year’s registered runners are local, 30 percent are in-state people from out-of-town and 30 percent are out-of-state runners.
We’ll see what July’s report has to say.