The latest findings from an ongoing study by the University of Utah’s Center for Public Policy and Administration show that the U’s move to the PAC-12 conference continues to financially benefit the state and university.
The University of Utah football team joined the PAC-12 at the beginning of the 2011 season. Since that time the number of out-of-state fans attending football games has doubled and that means more revenue for both the university and the state. Dianne Meppen is a research associate at the Center for Public Policy and Administration. She estimates that in 2012 the out-of-state fans spent $2.3 million dollars on travel, food, and lodging. With those purchases they also helped bring in more than 650 thousand dollars in new tax revenue. She says from her point of view, the move to the PAC-12 is nothing but positive.
“We have fans, out-of-state fans, that are telling us that they were well received here and the majority of those are saying that they want to come back for something other than football," she says. "That’s a win-win situation for Utah. There’s nothing negative in the findings of the study.”
While the increase in attendance from out-of-state fans is definitely contributing to the economic boost, the main source of the increase comes from television revenue. In their last season with the Mountain West Conference, the university received $1.2 million dollars in television revenue. Last year, as part of the PAC-12, they received $8 million dollars. A number that they estimate will continue to grow over the next several years.