SLO Marathon's economic impact was $3 million, race directors say

acornejo@thetribunenews.comJuly 2, 2012 

Runners head down Johnson Avenue under police escort April 22, 2012, in the inaugural San Luis Obispo Marathon.


The inaugural San Luis Obispo marathon and half-marathon had a $3 million economic impact on San Luis Obispo County, according to a report released Monday by event directors.

The study, compiled by Productive Impact LLC of San Luis Obispo, included the survey results of more than 800 of the races’ 2,800 participants.

The $3 million includes money spent by participants on things such as lodging, food, souvenirs, gasoline and event preparation. It also includes money spent by Get Off The Couch Potato Sports Productions for operational costs.

Ninety percent of the 3,143 participants in the April marathon were from California, but six countries and 27 states were represented in the race. The average economic impact generated per participant was estimated to be $953, with a total of $2.34 million spent by people attending the event and those who came with them. On average, nonlocal participants brought with them an additional three people who also spent money on food, gas and lodging.

The event is said to have generated $85,153 in sales tax and an additional $37,903 in transient occupancy taxes, also called hotel bed taxes.

Event director Heather Hellman, who declined to say how much the event cost to produce, said the report confirmed what organizers had anticipated.

“We’ve looked at reports from other marathons, and small or large, these runners do spend money when they come here,” Hellman said. “This is the type of event that just attracts a lot of people.”

The operational cost of the race is said to have infused the local economy with $675,000 — money spent on costs such as tent rentals, staffing, portable restrooms and scaffolding.

“We tried to purchase locally whenever we could,” Hellman said.

The next San Luis Obispo marathon and half-marathon will be held April 21, 2013, and organizers hope to more than double the size.

“We have aggressive goals for year two, and if we hit our projected numbers, the impact for 2013 could potentially be $7.5 million,” Hellman said in a news release. “The marathon and half (-marathon) could become one of the largest revenue-generating attractions in the county.”

Lindsey Miller, marketing director for the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, said the marathon has proved to be a success for the local economy.

“It is huge,” Miller said. “It’s not just the runner, but the family and entourage that come with them to do so many activities, from dining to shopping and wine tasting. We were thrilled when we heard that this was starting here, and it has proven to be incredible.”

The 2013 marathon, half-marathon and 5k are open to 9,000 participants. The half-marathon will be capped at 6,000 runners and the marathon at 2,000. named the San Luis Obispo Marathon as the top new Boston Marathon qualifier and new spring marathon, and Hellman anticipates that it will sell out quickly for next year.

Registration for all races will open July 21.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

2012 SLO Marathon economic impact analysis

Economic Impact Analysis for San Luis Obispo Marathon and Half Marathon 2012

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