The Economic and Social Impact of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Athletics

In 2023, ESI was commissioned by the University of Minnesota Athletics Department to conduct an economic and social impact study. As the college athletics industry continues to grow, so does its impact on and around places of higher education.

The University of Minnesota is home to over 55,000 students and is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference, as well as a Division I school. With over 600 student athletes and 22 different sports teams, the University has hosted over 1.3 million visitors in a calendar year.

This project accounted for direct spending on operations, direct spending on capital investments, participant and attendee ancillary spending, impact from additional ancillary spending, and broader social impacts. The additional ancillary spending category incorporates newer industry developments like licensed merchandise, media buys, and Name, Image, and Likeness deals.

ESI found that the University of Minnesota Athletics Department had an annual statewide economic impact of $473.7 million and supported over 3,500 jobs. In addition, the Department’s activities and spending generated $29 million in tax revenue for the state of Minnesota. Within the Twin Cities, the combined operations, capital, and visitor spending impact totaled $297.7 million.

In addition to the quantitative economic analysis, ESI also performed a broader impact analysis regarding social impact, Big Ten impact, community engagement, and diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Department.

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