RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Bon Secours Washington Redskins training camp made an economic impact of $10.5 million Richmond Metro area - that number was just released by the mayor's office and comes from a study done by VCU and a tourism agency.
That figure actually surpasses the number Mayor Dwight Jones used in his pitch to bring training camp here. Overnight visitors are responsible for a significant amount of that money. The report says they spent on average, almost $900 during their stay.
"The Training Camp's impact on the city of Richmond and the surrounding area surpassed our early estimates," said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. "We had a tremendous first year that we believe can only continue to get better."
According to the study, visitors from all 50 states contributed to the economic boost of training camp. Information was collected for lodging, restaurants, groceries, entertainment, training camp merchandise, shopping, gasoline and other anticipated expenditures.
"Several businesses that we know were directly impacted by the Training Camp still have to report their meals taxes," said Sharon Judkins, the City's Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Finance. "It is our expectation that the total performance will keep trending upward as the data continues to be reported."
This is a report city council members and media have been requesting for months, but many local business owners have known the individual results for quite some time.
"It was huge for us," said Meghan McClure of Gus' Bar and Grill on West Broad Street.
You can actually see the Redskins Training Camp site from the sports bar. McClure believes that's why Gus' bottom line was tripled and in some times quadrupled during the three weeks.
"There would be every table taken, not a seat available, most every barstool would've been taken," said McClure. "We would actually have to sit people outside on the patio...just to be able to accommodate for everybody."
It's the location of each business that seems to have made a difference. Many owners we talked to did not see a boost from camp.
"We had heard a lot from our customers that just the cluster of people coming in and out in the Boulevard area actually deterred them," explained Jake Crocker, who owns three restaurants in the city.
Now with this new information, merchants are hoping they can create a game plan with officials.
"The city can help us by putting out more promotional material, helping us connect what's going on there to what's going on at the community," Crocker added.
The group who did the survey not only analyzed tax data but interviewed people who came to the camp to find out exactly what they were spending. The City says a preliminary study of tax revenue earned from the camp shows a net profit of nearly $231,000.
Economic impact report: http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wwbt/PDF/Redskins Impact FINAL Economic Impact Report 010614.pdf
Finance Dept. Redskins Report: http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wwbt/PDF/Finance Department Redskins Report - Final Preliminary Version 122713.pdf