Game Day Economics

The University of Georgia has a strong economic impact on the surrounding town of Athens, Georgia. Much of this impact is due in part to the popularity and success of the Bulldogs’ football program. Football season is undoubtedly the most popular season on UGA’s campus, attracting crowds of over 100,000 people every Saturday the Bulldogs play at home. 

According to Business Pundit, a website analyzing different aspects of various businesses, the University of Georgia has an extremely profitable football program. UGA’s football team brings in an average annual profit of $45 million. This profit is a combination of ticket and merchandise sales among other things.  This money is spread throughout Athens, having a significant economic impact on the community. Business of College Sports, a website that evaluates the legal and business aspects of collegiate sports, researched the direct economic impact of a college football game. Author Kristi Dosh found that, for the 2011 season, each UGA home game brings in approximately $2.95 million to the surrounding community.

Clearly, UGA football generates a lot of money and business for the Athens community. However, local business owners claim that this profit is dependent upon the Bulldog’s success on the field. The 2010 football season started out on a very rough note for the Bulldogs. Midway through the season Mark Richt and his team were sporting a record of 1-4, their longest losing streak in twenty years. Michael Karvell of the Atlanta Journal Constitution put it simply, “When the Bulldogs lose, fans don’t seem to hang around as long after games.” Josh Boatright, manager of the Cotton Club restaurant and bar on Broad Street, sees a direct correlation between the Bulldogs losing and a lack of business. Boatright claims that after a loss fans are depressed and go home to wallow in their sorrows. He does however mention that there is the occasional fan that chooses to drown their sorrows, but the business is nowhere near what it is like after a win.

Athens, Georgia is a relatively small town comprised mostly of the large student body at the University of Georgia. During football season, more than 70,000 visitors, alumni, and fans accompany UGA’s 34,000 students for game day. There are six Saturday’s every fall when Athens is bustling with over 100,000 people all anxiously awaiting the outcome of the Bulldog’s game. Win or lose, the game brings in a tremendous amount of money for the Athens community. However, if the Bulldogs win, these profits are sure to skyrocket as UGA fans celebrate another victory.

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