State Games Brings $12.2 Million Impact to Area
MERIDIAN, MS — When thousands of athletes pour into the East Mississippi area for competition and the annual Opening Ceremony of the State Games of Mississippi, the total estimated economic impact is $12,150,249, according to a study just released.
“We are immensely gratified the newest economic impact study validates what we already knew — the State Games of Mississippi is good for East Mississippi — both in generating spending at area businesses and providing a prime destination” said Missye Dozier, Executive Director of the State Games. Former Sports Director Dozier took over the helm of the State Games after long-time Executive Director Carolyn Smith retired in 2021.
The study, prepared by Dr. Habib Bazyari, shows that more than 60% of the participants and spectators who come to East Mississippi are from other counties across the state. Some 20% originate in Lauderdale County, with the other 20% from out of state.
In looking just at the economic impact of athletes, Dr. Bazyari’s study found the average meal expenditure (based on 8.7 meals) is $164.43 and the average nightly stay of 2.4 days created accommodation expenditures of $372,672. And don’t forget gasoline — athletes spend an average of $180 to fill up while they are participating in events. That translates into more than $500,000 in local gasoline sales.
The figures on economic impact for spectators at the Games are even greater. The average spectator has 8 meals in the area, spending a total of $168 per person. Spectators also shopped while in the area, racking up estimated shopping expenditures of $561,275.
The highest percentage of the total amount of spending was for shopping at 24%, with hotel stays at 23% of the total. Athletes and spectators also found time for entertainment, spending 22% of the grand total for this type of activities.
The 2021 figures from the study were based on 5,200 athletes and 15,700 spectators at the Opening Ceremony and sporting events. The study was limited to the economic impact in East Mississippi, but the State Games also holds events in many other locations across the state.