LSU athletics generate $397 million local impact

LSU athletic teams had an economic impact of $397.5 million on the four-parish Baton Rouge area in 2012, according to a study commissioned by the Tiger Athletic Foundation.

Loren Scott, a retired LSU economics professor and head of the consulting firm of Loren C. Scott & Associates Inc., led the study and revealed its findings Thursday at the Moran Family Center for Athletics, adjacent to Tiger Stadium.

“This is a very big impact,” Scott said.

“LSU athletics are truly a community investment,” added Joe Alleva, LSU’s vice chancellor and athletics director.

Civic groups received $815,000 from concession booths they operated at athletic events two years ago, Scott emphasized.

The economics consultant called attention to $98.7 million received by LSU’s athletics department in 2012.

“In 2001, this number was $37 million,” Scott said.

Scott also said 32 national championships won by LSU teams between 1990 and 2012 contributed to the school’s growing economic impact in the parishes of East and West Baton Rouge, Ascension and Livingston.

Twenty of those championships were won by the women’s track and field teams, six by the baseball teams, four by the men’s track and field teams and two by LSU’s biggest-dollar draw, the Tiger football teams.

Scott said revenue generated by the football team is “about six times larger than all of the other athletics (teams) combined.”

Two years ago, LSU teams of all sports attracted about 1.5 million people to their games in Baton Rouge.

“There are more people in Tiger Stadium on Saturday nights than in 49 of our 64 parishes,” Scott said outside the meeting.

“These are very significant numbers,” Scott said of the total attendance. “They’re approximately equal to the population of the seven-parish New Orleans metropolitan area.”

Of the nearly $400 million LSU athletics generated in the Baton Rouge area in 2012, $119.7 million was in the form of household earnings, Scott said. Those paychecks were greater than the 2012 combined earnings of all employees at all food and beverage stores in East Baton Rouge Parish.

And those household earnings were from 3,948 jobs, equal to the job total in St. Helena Parish, Scott added.

LSU athletics also accounted for $2.8 million in local government sales tax revenue in the four-parish Baton Rouge area two years ago, Scott noted. He said Tiger teams also generated $8 million in state tax receipts.

In a typical football season, Scott said, out-of-state residents attending the Tigers home games spend $31.2 million in Louisiana. Of that total, he added, $22.3 million is spent in the four-parish Baton Rouge area.

Louisiana residents from outside the Baton Rouge area spend even more on football games in Tiger Stadium.

Scott said in-state travelers spend $62.8 million, including $47.7 million in the Baton Rouge area.

“I was astonished to learn how many people it takes to run a football game on Saturday night,” Scott said.

For each pigskin contest, Scott explained, 2,765 people are working in and around Tiger Stadium to feed, protect or otherwise serve the fans.

Typical concession sales include 48,800 soft drinks; 23,500 liters of water; 14,400 hot dogs; 10,900 orders of nachos; 7,500 bags of popcorn; 6,800 bags of peanuts; 5,400 hamburgers; 4,700 sausage po boys; and 3,300 candy bars.

Construction projects involving LSU sports also contribute significant sums to the four-parish Baton Rouge area.

Scott said projects begun in 2001 and either completed or scheduled for completion by the end of 2015 total $783.3 million in business sales.

That figure includes $250.3 million in household earnings and $5.8 million in local government sales taxes over the 14-year period.

State tax receipts from construction projects over that period were estimated at $20.3 million.

Asked whether LSU athletics are attracting business development in Baton Rouge, Scott said, from restaurants to gas stations, “There is no question there are boosts in all kinds of areas.”