A Clemson University economic impact study requested by the Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau showed that Panthers summer training camp at Wofford College generated almost $13.1 in economic activity. That is up from $8 million in 2015 and $5.2 million in 2014.
A major reason for this economic windfall was a dramatic rise in attendance, the report states. It was 49,029 for 2014 , 77,625 for 2015 and 135,371 for 2016. In 2014, 44 percent of visitors to training camp traveled more than 50 miles to attend; 43 percent in 2015 and 39 percent in 2016. The average expenditure was $149 in 2014; $161 in 2015; and $151 in 2016, the report created by Dr. Bob Brookover of Clemson showed.
Chris Jennings, the Spartanburg CVB’ executive vice president, said the CVB expected strong numbers based on the high number of attendees at the training camp, but the impact numbers exceeded his expectations.
“We knew the Panthers going to the Super Bowl was going to create more buzz about training camp. Fans were hungry to see the team live again,” he said. “We quickly realized there was a lot more people in Spartanburg than any previous camp we could remember.”
Jennings said many Spartanburg restaurants, bars and shops were busier than normal as travelers spent their money here to help create the total impact, which calculates the total effect spending by Panthers Training Camp attendees on Spartanburg County.
When spending occurs within an economy, each dollar spent has spend through effects. These effects are indirect and induced spending. An example of indirect spending is when a tourist buys a souvenir, the souvenir shop owner then takes the money generated by the sale and spends it on utilities, rent, additional inventory, etc. Induced spending is when a tourist goes to dinner at a local restaurant and tips their waiter or waitress. That waiter or waitress then spends that extra money within the economy on clothes, transportation, etc.
Allen Smith, president of the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce, said the numbers not only reflect the Panther’s success, but the success of Spartanburg.
“Spartanburg has emerged as a destination for business and tourism,” he said. “More and more people are discovering that this is the place to enjoy a different slice of South Carolina charm.”
The impact is about more than just dollars spent last summer, Jennings said. The CVB said Spartanburg got to shine in front of a much larger audience and that should attract more visitors during the course of the year.
“That many people coming to Spartanburg, whether spending a few hours or a few days, creates new interest in coming back,” Jennings said. “Our web and social media traffic was up 80 percent during training camp. People wanted to know more about Spartanburg.”
About the Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau:
The Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau celebrates this amazing destination located in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Spartanburg offers thriving downtown nightlife, history, arts, scenic hiking, paddling destinations and more. Originally called the Hub City for its railroad crossroads, Spartanburg is conveniently located at the junction of Interstates 26 and 85 making it a popular destination throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.visitspartanburg.com or go on social media and use #visitspartanburg and #onespartanburg to share the story.