The cost of a Texas A&M football season being played away from the Brazos Valley would be "severe," according to a economic impact study released Tuesday.
Oxford Economics was commissioned to do the study this summer by the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce, this as A&M explores options for the renovation of Kyle Field, including the possibility that games would have to be moved for at least a season.
In the Oxford study, $120 million in incremental direct spending was brought to Brazos County for home football games in 2011 by fans, media, sponsors and teams.
"The majority of the people come from out of town," said Adam Sacks, Oxford Economics. "They're the ones spending the big dollars on everything from hotel rooms, to entertainment, transportation, and food and beverage. "
Local tax receipts totaled $5.8 million, and $56 million in household income and 2,400 jobs (three percent of Brazos County's employment) were generated for 2011's games.
"It's the proverbial, "No man is an island." Our business is spread out through 23 counties but make no mistake about it...we're talking about millions of dollars of lost revenue," said Mark Kristen, owner of Kristen Distributing.
Were games to be moved out of the county, more than $63 million in direct business activity would be lost, according to Oxford's analysis. Including indirect impacts, that number reaches $86 million for a season and $173 million for two.
Local tax losses would reach an estimated $2.8 million for one lost season. Household income totaling $21 million would also be lost, along with 955 jobs, according to the study.
"I think it would affect all of us in B/CS...especially the retail and food industries. We depend on out of town traffic and we would sure hate to miss that," said Carolyn Catalena, owner of Catalena Hatters in Historic Downtown Bryan.
Stakeholders in the region were consulted during the study. One described a lost football season as being equivalent to a combined Hurricane Katrina and Gulf oil spill impact on the region. The study's author, Adam Sacks, said it would be a "self-induced recession" locally.
Sacks also added that with A&M's moved to the Southeastern Conference, it is conceivable that those estimated loss numbers could be even greater because of more fans traveling to the area and staying longer since they've traveled further.
Texas A&M hired a consulting firm in April to conduct a six-month study of its options for Kyle.
The following statement was released by Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin Tuesday morning:
"Leaders of the Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau have presented an executive summary of its recent Texas A&M Football economic impact report to select members of the Texas A&M administration. We have long acknowledged the significant economic impact of Texas A&M on the Bryan-College Station area, in particular the role that education, research, training, entertainment and athletic activities play in bringing visitors to campus and the community.
"The executive summary presented focused on the feedback of opinion leaders from throughout the community and an economic analysis conducted by the Oxford Group. We believe the study reveals an opportunity for enhanced partnership with our community and we will certainly take this feedback into consideration as our research and deliberations continue regarding the Kyle Field project.
"It is important to reiterate that no decisions have been made as to whether the Aggies will play a season away from Kyle Field, and we continue to hope that this will be an unlikely option. While we are ever-mindful of any potential impacts on the local community, we must also consider philanthropic support, construction timelines, budgetary implications, and financing options – all of which are very important to considering the potential magnitude of the Kyle Field project.
"Once we have all of this data and information compiled, we can make informed decision and initiate next steps."