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November 27, 2015
Football wins equal big bucks for Florida

Photo: Florida State University

Florida TaxWatch Economic Commentary

Football wins equal big bucks for Florida

College football programs increase revenue for schools and the state as a whole.

| 8/28/2014

A sure sign that Fall will be here soon is the beginning of the college football season. Again this year, many fans of Florida universities have high hopes of great seasons. Although only one Florida football team is ranked in the top 25 of the AP and the Coaches pre-season polls (the Florida State University Seminoles (FSU) are #1 in both polls) the University of Florida (UF), the University of Central Florida (UCF), and the University of Miami (UM) each received votes in both polls. In the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly known as Division I-AA) Coaches Pre-season Poll, Bethune-Cookman University, located in Daytona Beach, was ranked 23rd.

Florida taxpayers should hope for wins by all Florida schools. Winning college football teams bring more than just glory to their schools. They help increase the economic activity in their hometowns, and contribute to their school’s academic and other athletic programs. The success of these teams may also increase student applications, which allows schools to have more students to choose from when selecting their incoming classes.

Visitors coming to Florida cities for home games have a substantial tourism impact, especially for smaller cities. Florida is home to seven Division I NCAA football teams, including the 2013 National Champion FSU Seminoles. Three out of these seven teams are located in cities with populations of less than 200,000 residents: Florida State University in Tallahassee; the University of Florida in Gainesville; and Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter. During college football season, these cities experience a large increase in economic activity, as fans fill up area hotels, participate in local events, purchase food and beverages, and purchase their team’s merchandise.

Estimated Economic Activity of FSU Home Games
Type of Game Activity
Low-level, non-conference games $1.5 million
Conference Games $5 million
Premier Games $7 million
Top End Games $10 million
Source: “BCS Title Boosts Tallahassee Businesses.” May 6, 2014.


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