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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Homecoming’s million dollar impact

The cost of Homecoming is offset by the economic contribution of its annual football game and a set of sponsors, according to new UA-led research and data.

Events surrounding Homecoming will draw an estimated 50,000 visitors to campus, according to Fabian Cordova, senior vice president and CFO of the UA Alumni Association.

Cordova said the total expense of all of Homecoming’s events is approximately $162,000 for the Alumni Association.

The direct net cost to organize Homecoming is $50,000. These funds come from the Alumni Association’s operating revenue whose funds include member programming fees and association partnerships. Community support and sponsorships fund the remaining cost of Homecoming, according to Cordova.

“Without this support, we would not be able to do a lot of what we do at homecoming,” Cordova said.

Liberty Mutual Insurance, Bank of America, Whole Foods Market, Xfinity, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino and Hensley Beverage Company partnered with UA as corporate sponsors to help host and fund the university’s 102nd Homecoming’s festivities.

The weeklong occasion also has support from local sponsors such as the Marshall Foundation and from campus sponsors including the Bobcats Senior Honorary, Arizona Athletics and the Student Alumni Ambassadors.

On top of this, the Alumni Association funds events by selling tickets to attendees. For example, tickets for the Homecoming Barbecue Bash range from $30 to $35.

During this year’s Homecoming festivities on the UA Mall, the Alumni Association invited a set of local food trucks such as Purple Tree Acai, a regular food truck to UA, to serve the influx of people on campus.

The Alumni Association also offers a series of free commodities to attending alumni, including free use of the campus’s recreational facilities and a tailgate event on the UA Mall.

The UA will crown a Homecoming king and queen from 10 contestants according to Jill Hall, vice president of Alumni Engagement & Innovation. The events will be free to alumni.

While alumni might not be paying for events on campus, they are spending money in the community.

Alumni Kevin Wittner, who earned his MBA from UA, conducted an economic analysis on the impact of a UA football game—a staple of Homecoming week.

The UA football game against Iowa on Sept. 18, 2010, generated approximately $8.2 million in visitor spending in the Tucson community, according to Wittner.

Wittner conducted his study in conjunction with the Eller College of Management’s Economic and Business Research Center and UA Intercollegiate Athletics.

He collaborated with Alberta Charney, a senior research economist, and Jesper Nielsen, an assistant professor of marketing.

Wittner came to the almost $8.2 million of spending in Tucson during football games by conducting 1,767 paper and online surveys.

He analyzed 763 of those surveys and extrapolated his findings with an error rate of around 9 percent.

Only out-of-area money contributed to this figure, as locally spent money is not new money being brought to the community, Wittner said.

The study shows this year’s Homecoming football game should see $8.2 million dollars spent in the local community, which benefits not only the college, but Tucson as a whole.

Follow Randall Eck on Twitter.

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