Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game Weekend Delivers $62.5M in Economic Impact for Atlanta

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

The 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games featuring Florida State vs. Alabama and Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee combined to drive $62.5 million in economic impact and generate $5.1 million in direct state and local tax revenue within metro Atlanta.

The first college football games played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium drew a total of 151,437 fans to Atlanta. This included two sellouts and a record crowd of 76,330 for the “greatest opener of all time” in the No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 1 Alabama game.

In terms of attendance, the two Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games represent the fourth and fifth-largest events for Atlanta in 2017 to date. More than 17.4 million additional fans watched the games on television, including the most-watched opening weekend college football game on record between Florida State and Alabama (12.5 million viewers).

“When it comes to delivering tourism revenue and exposure, college football is a critical driver of economic impact and promotion for Atlanta,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO and president. “These findings, along with the fact the majority of the largest tourism events in the city will be college football games this year, further solidify Atlanta’s position as the ‘Epicenter of College Football.’”

In addition to this year’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games, Atlanta will also host the SEC Championship in December, followed by another matchup between top teams in this year’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day, and then conclude with the College Football Playoff National Championship Jan. 8.

Although annual results vary based on the identity and location of the participating teams, results of the annual economic impact study show that college football is a significant economic engine for Atlanta and the state of Georgia.

“We are proud to be a part of something greater that has such a substantial impact on Atlanta and our entire community. This data is a perfect example of how significant a role college football games play in boosting our local economy,” said Percy Vaughn, Peach Bowl, Inc. chairman. “The Chick-fil-A Kickoff games are some of the largest ‘conventions’ we have on an annual basis.”

The sustainable nature of these games and their value to Atlanta is realized in the cumulative numbers that have been tracked since 1999. Over that time, college football games hosted by Peach Bowl, Inc. have delivered $995.9 million in total economic impact and $56.4 million in combined direct state and local tax revenue generated within the metro area.

The economic impact study was conducted by Dr. Bruce A. Seaman, associate professor of economics at Georgia State University and one of the preeminent experts on economic impact in the country. It also revealed additional information about how long visitors stayed and how much money they spent while they were here.

“High-profile events like the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games are more economically beneficial for Atlanta considering they attract more visitors, more media and notably more corporate hospitality spending overall,” Dr. Seaman said. “In our model, we continue to fine tune the way we treat the data to account for variables such as the specific teams involved, the travelling origins of their fan bases, their discretionary spending habits and average length of stay, among many other factors.”

The following chart shows the average amount spent per person (including taxes) by the non-Georgia based fans who stayed in hotels, out of the 151,437 fans who attended the 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games.

Expenditure per person Average Spend (Florida State vs. Alabama) Average Spend (Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee)
Hotel per day (adjusted for room occupancy) $63.86 $62.67
Food & Beverage per day $76.47 $62.22
Transportation per day $37.05 $35.00
Stadium (excluding ticket) $85.26 $71.75
Shopping total stay $72.68 $65.68
Average length of stay 2.0 nights 1.85 nights

Cumulative Impact by the Numbers: Metro Atlanta

Event Eco. Impact (Cumulative)
Tax Revenue (Cumulative)
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl $598.4 million $30.8 million
Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game $397.5 million $25.6 million
TOTAL $995.9 million $56.4 million

Seaman noted that adjustments were also made to account for displaced spending that would have occurred without the games, for the proportion of visitor spending actually captured by regional vendors and for motivations for visiting the region not directly associated with the games.

The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game averages an attendance of 68,887 – higher than the attendance of 37 bowl games last year – and has an average payout of $5.2 million. Television viewership is also traditionally strong with more than 59.7 million viewers tuning in to the series since its inaugural game in 2008.