Wisconsin Center District facilities, including the Delta Center, create $355 million in annual economic impact, according to a new study.
by Stacy Vogel Davis, Reporter, The Business Journal
A new study of the Delta Center, U.S. Cellular Arena and Milwaukee Theatre in downtown Milwaukee has found the three venues generate $355 million in annual economic impact and support more than 4,000 full-time jobs in the city of Milwaukee.
Of the total, $126 million is new spending, meaning the spending wouldn’t happen if the facilities didn’t exist, according to the study by HVS Convention, Sports & Entertainment Facilities Consulting, Chicago. The new spending supports 1,400 jobs, the study found.
The Wisconsin Center District, which owns and operates the facilities, commissioned the study and released the results Friday. The Delta Center, formerly the Frontier Airlines Center, is the city’s primary convention center.
“The main purpose for the data is to reestablish the significance of the Wisconsin Center District as a major catalyst for the economy in the Milwaukee area,” said Franklyn Gimbel, district chairman.
The study found an average 98,000 people a year for the past five years stayed overnight for events at district facilities and 408,000 people visited for the day from out of town. The company used a multiplier of 50 cents in indirect and induced spending for every $1 in direct spending to estimate the economic impact, said Thomas Hazinski, managing director at HVS.
HVS also compared the study results to a study released in March 2012 of the economic impact of the BMO Harris Bradley Center, which examined the economic impact in the entire Milwaukee area, not just the city. Using those parameters, the Wisconsin Center District has an annual economic impact of $498 million, more than twice the impact of the Bradley Center, Hazinski said. That’s because most people who attend Bradley Center events live in the area and are less likely to spend money on things like hotel rooms and meals, he said.
The district could use results of the study to lobby for an expanded convention center, Gimbel said. The next step is to study the potential economic impact of an expanded convention center and compare that with the costs of expansion, he said.
“The next step is to say ‘What if?’” Gimbel said.