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Panthers’ camp equals $13M in economic activity

Hospitality and Tourism
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The number of people who trekked to Wofford College over the summer to see the Carolina Panthers at training camp nearly doubled.

And merchants in Spartanburg could not be happier.

According to a report prepared by Clemson University senior lecturer Bob Brookover, the Spartanburg merchant community brought in just over $13 million during the training camp. That is up from the previous high of just over $8 million from a year ago.

“We are extremely pleased,” said Craig Kinley, owner of Gowler Haus, a craft beer retailer with locations in Spartanburg, Fountain Inn and Anderson. “The last three years they have come to town, we have seen an increase in fan base and people coming out to support the efforts.”

The biggest reason for the upturn is the attendance. According to the report, 135,371 people attended the camp during the summer. That is up from the 77,625 who came last year and 49,029 in 2014. The report stated that 44% of those coming to see the camp this year came from more than 50 miles. The average expenditure was $151 compared to $149 in 2014.

“We knew the Panthers going to the Super Bowl was going to create more buzz about training camp. Fans were hungry to see the team live again,” said Chris Jennings, Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau executive vice president, in a news release. “We quickly realized there was a lot more people in Spartanburg than any previous camp we could remember.”

Besides the Spartanburg restaurants and merchants, local and state government were beneficiaries to the increase in attendance.

According to the report, local government  - both city and county – earned more than $700,000 in economic activity generated by the camp. That’s nearly double the $400,000 generated in 2015. State government had a $2.3 million impact due to this year’s camp compared to $1.4 million in 2015 and $935,000 in 2014.

The report also suggested that 263 jobs were supported by the training camp in 2016 compared to 174 jobs in 2015 and 113 in 2014.

“Spartanburg has emerged as a destination for business and tourism,” said Alan Smith, Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce president, in the release. “More and more people are discovering that this is the place to enjoy a different slice of South Carolina charm.”

The study looked at indirect and induced spending. Indirect spending would be when a tourist purchases a souvenir and the shop owner uses that money to pay for utilities, rent or other expenses. Induced spending is when a tourist tips a waiter or waitress and the server spends the money on things like clothes and transportation.

“Business-wise, it has been really good,” Kinley said. “We see an increase of tourists and local fans and they really seem to spend more time and money in the downtown Spartanburg area.”

Carolina Panthers’ camp by the numbers

Impact category

2014

2015

2016

Total demand

$4.247 million

$6.528 million

$10.621 million

Jobs

113

174

263

Net local gov’t revenue

$289,000

$444,000

$722,000

Net state gov’t revenue

$935,000

$1.436 million

$2.3 million

Total output/impact

$5.225 million

$8.029 million

$13.064 million

Source: Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau

Reach Matthew Clark at 864-720-1222.

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