March 12, 2024 / Modified mar 13, 2024 4:52 p.m.

Study shows UA sports send Tucson economy soaring

The report cites Wildcats football, basketball and other events bringing big spenders to town.

Sports Econ Study Full house at Arizona Stadium, 2017.
AZPM Staff

A new study shows sports fans following the University of Arizona Wildcats are providing a big boost to the Tucson economy. The study analyzed the connection between athletic events and sports-related tourism.

Dari Duval helped develop the study with the UA Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. She explains the research began by collecting data on ticket sales for the games people attended.

“And then we were able to categorize those visitors by folks who are local within Pima County, folks who are in-state visitors, but from outside Pima County; and then people who are traveling from out of state or from out of the country to attend these events,” Duval said.

Agricultural and Resource Economics professor George Frisvold notes spectators saw Tucson as a destination city for sports.

“We were actually surprised at how many people were coming in from out of state. And how much spending was coming from people out of state,” he said.

The study found locals spent around $64 million on activities associated with UA sports events during the 2023 fiscal year. Individuals from other parts of Arizona spent $82 million, while fans from out-of-state added an estimated $50 million.

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