Clarkson University MBA students Xiaotong Liu, left, and Wan Chun Duan, center, talk with vendor Bernie Knowlton, right, while conducting an economic impact survey at the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament in Waddington.
POTSDAM -- The Bassmasters Elite tournament on the St. Lawrence River off of Waddington had an economic impact on St. Lawrence County of $1.03 to $3.38 million, a group of six Clarkson University MBA students has calculated.
The students reported to the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce and the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators that visitors to August’s Bassmaster Elite Series -- 96 percent of that from U.S. visitors and 4 percent from Canadian guests -- spent about a quarter of that on non-fishing related shopping, a little less than a quarter each on accommodations and on food and beverages, about 17 percent on fishing gear, and 11 percent on gas station expenses.
“Those of us on the ground planning and executing this Bassmaster event needed to know whether all the time and all the investment would pay off,” said Patricia McKeown, executive director of the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, who arranged for the students to perform the study. “As a result of the Clarkson team’s work, we learned that the return to St. Lawrence County was more than 15 times the investment. Those are great numbers!”
A record-setting 34,100 people descended upon the village of Waddington from August 8 to 11 to cheer on anglers competing in the tournament and attend a free family festival orchestrated by the county chamber.
The students, studying for master's degrees in business administration, reported that the most visitors (11,996) attended on Day 3 of the event (Saturday), with 9,435 on Sunday, 9,030 on Friday and 3,639 on Thursday.
St. Lawrence County officials who helped plan the event wanted to go beyond anecdotal information on how such tournaments spur investment in local hotels, restaurants and stores. So McKeown turned to Clarkson.
“We love to work with Clarkson on these business projects,” she said. “The students are eager to have a genuine hands-on experience that is real and true. They always do a terrific job, especially this time.”
The student team conducted surveys with 253 visitors to the tournament, who were accompanied by 668 friends and family, providing data for the statistical sampling to determine spending by the 34,100 total visitors. Of these visitors the students calculated that the Americans spent $41.58 each, while the Canadians spent $58.40 each.
The “baseline” economic impact of $1.03 million is a conservative figure that assumes that visitors spent only 70 percent of the calculated expenditures at the tournament and that the economic impact factor (a “multiplier effect,” in which a dollar spent by an individual is spent by another individual, and so on) was only 1.0.
The $3.38 million economic impact assumes that visitors spent 140 percent of the calculated expenditures and that the economic impact factor was 1.6 -- that is each dollar was re-spent multiple times.
Udaybhaskar Munjuluri and Shashikant J. Ingale of India, Anh Tu A. Tran of Vietnam, Wan-Chun Duan of Taiwan, and Xiaotong Liu and Cheng Chen of China made up the team of Clarkson MBA students.
“This team of international students arrived in the U.S.A. just a week before the Bassmaster Elite event,” said McKeown. “Despite being new, they grabbed hold of this project and ran with it, even though they had no clue where Waddington was.”
The students completed the study with guidance from School of Business Associate Dean of Graduate Programs Boris Jukic and support from School of Business Dean Dayle M. Smith.
The team was also guided by School of Business Director of Graduate Enrollment and Student Affairs Patricia M. Perrier and Associate Director of Graduate Enrollment and Student Affairs Christopher J. Wszalek.
“This opportunity enabled our students to learn more about the community and American culture, and gave them a chance to take what they are learning in the classroom and apply new skills to real-world challenges,” said Smith. “It also strengthened the relationship between the University and our community, where our students learn outside the classroom and the community, in turn, gains knowledge from our students.”
Full survey results are available upon request from the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.
A video of the students at work last August can be seen at http://youtu.be/PxK_WlE4pBY.