Study Estimates $167 million Economic Impact to Kentucky from WEG

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LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Mar. 30–Kentucky could realize a $167 million (€124 million) economic benefit from the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, a significant increase from early projections of $150 million (€111 million), organizers said Tuesday.

WEG is being held for the first time in the United States at Lexington’s Kentucky Horse Park beginning Sept. 25 with as many as 60 countries competing in world championships in eight equestrian sports.

The study, conducted by Dr. Paul Coomes, Professor of Economics at the University of Louisville, shows a direct impact to state and local governments through payroll taxes and taxed purchases by spectators in regional hotels, restaurants, retailers and car rentals.

Current ticket sale projections estimate that more than 85 percent of Games spectators will come from outside Kentucky, bringing new dollars into the region’s economy. Current ticket purchasers are averaging five days of attendance, and the lodging that comes with those visits could account for more than $20 (€15 million) million in spending on accommodations alone.

In addition, the study estimates significant employment opportunities, bringing employees and payroll taxes into the state and local economies.

The study also noted impacts that world-wide television exposure, branding, advertising and media coverage would bring to Kentucky for years to come.

“An event such as the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is extremely rare for a destination, because the Games represent a huge economic engine fueled by out-of-state and international visitors and exposure, yet are fully accessible and affordable for state and local residents,” said Hank Phillips, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Travel. “The combination of high economic impact and affordability for the state and local community is indeed rare.”