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UTRGV predicts significant economic impact from football program

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley expects that its new football program will have a significant impact on the local economy.

That’s nothing new. The university’s been saying as much for years.

However, the university has been keeping its economic forecast updated and the fact that the Vaquero’s finally have an official home for their football team makes those predictions more tangible.

Last month the University of Texas System finished acquiring what used to be H-E-B Park for UTRGV football. The stadium sold for $46.25 million, $7.17 million from the city of Edinburg and $39.08 million from UT.

An economic impact study presented by the UTRGV Data and Information Systems Center in September of last year to the city of Edinburg says that the investment will pay dividends.

“This study focuses [on] the potential economic impacts of five local games that will be played in [the] city of Edinburg in 2025,” it reads. “The economic impact associated with creating and operating a football program, and spending by attendees, excluding construction impacts that are one-time, are estimated to occur every year. This study does not consider the increase in enrollment due to [the] football program; research indicates every collegiate football player indirectly is responsible for adding five additional students to college enrollments.”

Even though the university bought a pre-existing stadium, the study estimates construction expenditures on associated facilities like practice fields, housing and dining infrastructure and the Vaquero Performance Center to total $121.5 million and require 1,272 jobs.

Those are one-time impacts. The study predicts other cashflow will be ongoing.

Non-construction economic impacts will create 142 jobs and boost the gross domestic profit by $6.7 million, it says.

The study bases that number on operational expenses and attendee spending.

It says UTRGV’s football program will spend $5.5 million annually, money that will create 79 jobs and add millions to gross domestic product.

The study bases its conclusions on attendee spending on estimates that 50,000 people will go to UTRGV games in Edinburg annually and that 10,000 of them will tailgate.

Those estimates — furnished by the UTRGV Department of Intercollegiate Athletics — predict 90% of attendees to be Valley residents and 10% to be out of towners, people like fans, players, university employees, band members and families of visiting teams.

Each game will require 50 full time employees, 50 student employees and 75 hourly employees, the university estimates. 

The study predicts attendees and visitors will spend $4.2 million, supporting 64 jobs and add $2.8 million in GDP.

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