AUSTIN (KXAN) – Talks with the Southeastern Conference (SEC) or another conference may now begin after the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma announced on Monday that the schools will not renew their rights granting agreements with the Big 12 process the separation of the connections to the conference.
The impact of UT moving conferences will extend well beyond the university and will likely bring economic benefits to the local economy.
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Since every home soccer game draws around 100,000 fans, says Dr. Matt Patton, Senior Project Manager at AngelouEconomics: “Texas Athletics itself is kind of an economic juggernaut, and it will have a big impact no matter what conference it is at. ”
AngelouEconomics last researched the economic impact of UT Athletics in 2015. At the time, the group estimated that the sport at UT pumped more than $ 728 million into the local and state economies annually.
“Visitor spending was nearly $ 282 million annually,” Patton recalls. “Taking to the track at UT home games alone cost about $ 33 million.”
Confident that spending has increased since then – and he expects the local economy to be in a prime position for a boost if Texas moves to a conference like the SEC. The SEC has a long history of loyal fans traveling around cities and passing the streets throughout the conference, which benefits Austin businesses.
“When we talk about really passionate fan bases at other conferences, coupled with the excitement of going to a new city, a city like Austin, where everyone wants to be all the time, we can expect really big crowds. “Said Patton. “Even if they’re not participating in the game – spending money in our economy, hotels, restaurants, bars, anything else you can think of, grocery stores for all of your tailgating supplies.”
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He points to the same circumstances that occurred in Lincoln, Nebraska, when the University of Nebraska realigned itself from the Big 12 to the Big Ten in 2011.
“In the Big Ten, other member institutions saw this as a really nice opportunity to visit another city and a football-supporting community,” Patton said. So we would expect a lot of people to want to come and see what the Austin and UT football experiences are all about. “
Patton says a study conducted nearly a decade ago after Texas A&M left the Big 12 and joined the SEC estimated that College Station would have an additional $ 23 million economic impact thanks to the realignment.
He expects Austin to bring in much more new income than College Station.
“I’m not going to talk about which is better or anything,” Patton said with a smile. “But in a city like Austin there are a lot more ways to spend money.”