New study reveals impact of sports events in Happy Valley, PA
HVAB-commissioned study to serve as benchmark for growth
Sep 27, 2022

Courtesy of GoPSU Athletics 

photos by Tim Weight
State College, PA, Sept. 27, 2022 – Under the banner of the Happy Valley Sports & Entertainment Alliance, The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau (HVAB) and Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics today released the results of an anticipated study that measured the economic impact of sports events in Centre County.

Commissioned by the HVAB following the fall 2021 announcement of the Happy Valley Sports & Entertainment Commission (since branded as the Alliance), the Econsult Solutions, Inc. study quantified the aggregate impact of sports events and associated activity.

The findings? Sports events generate an annual economic impact of nearly $417 million within Centre County, supporting 4,315 jobs with $133 million in employee compensation. The statewide impact of sporting events in Happy Valley is $467 million.

“We knew going in to the study that sports was a tremendous driver of our local economy,” said HVAB President and CEO Fritz Smith. “But we wanted to benchmark this impact as a baseline for the Happy Valley Sports & Entertainment Alliance as it seeks to further grow the sports and entertainment sector.”

Philadelphia-based Econsult Solutions, Inc. conducted the study, using industry-standard economic modeling techniques to estimate the direct and indirect economic activity generated by sports events in Centre County, including Penn State University Athletics.

The study found that Penn State home football games annually generate $87 million in visitor spending, and account for approximately 890,500 of Centre County’s 1.7 million annual sports events attendees.

Other Penn State Athletic events attract about 666,500 attendees, and countywide sporting events draw nearly 150,000 to Happy Valley.

Athletic event attendee spending generated $149 million in total economic impact for the county, with sporting event visitor spending estimated at $102 million annually. Of that amount, $17 million in economic impact is attributable to non-campus event visitor spending.

In addition to the significant economic impact of sporting events, the study noted ancillary benefits of sports tourism, including, but not limited to, revenue generation and image building resulting from licensing and merchandising; media exposure; and destination awareness and repeat visitation.

“It’s fantastic that we now have clear data to quantify the impact of sports events in Happy Valley. We know there are tremendous opportunities to grow that impact. We have first-class facilities. We have a desirable, recognizable destination,” said HVSEA Chair Joe Battista.

Battista said the Alliance is ready to roll up its sleeves and get to work to strengthen Happy Valley’s reputation as a premier destination for sporting and entertainment events.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the Happy Valley Sports & Entertainment Alliance, which has strong roots in our community,” added Penn State University President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi. “The economic development of Centre County continues to grow annually and is a critical piece of helping Happy Valley thrive well into our future.

“The University has a substantial economic impact on Happy Valley and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and sports and entertainment plays a significant role in our economy,” she continued. “We look forward to working with the Happy Valley Sports & Entertainment Alliance and our community partners to further enhance opportunities to bring visitors to our community on a year-round basis.”

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