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UMD says athletics puts $26 million in regional economy

Here's your latest excuse to skip responsibilities and catch the Bulldogs game -- it supports the local economy. The University of Minnesota Duluth has pegged the economic impact of its athletic programs at about $26 million and 250 jobs. A study...

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Champ, the mascot of the UMD Bulldogs, high-fives a fan at the United Center in Chicago before a Frozen Four semifinal game in April. UMD has pegged the regional economic impact of its athletic programs at $26 million per year. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

Here's your latest excuse to skip responsibilities and catch the Bulldogs game - it supports the local economy.

The University of Minnesota Duluth has pegged the economic impact of its athletic programs at about $26 million and 250 jobs. A study released Tuesday from the UMD Bureau of Business and Economic Research found that spending by university operations, visiting sports teams and the fans that follow produces effects felt throughout Northeastern Minnesota and Douglas County.

"We wish to thank the community for their great support of the Bulldogs, which enables much of the economic activity," Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Josh Berlo said in a news release.

UMD Athletics requested the study as the university faces a $3.2 million budget shortfall.

Breaking down the numbers, direct spending by UMD on athletics totals $6 million per year and directly supports 64 employees; the study said this causes another $8 million of indirect effects.

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Then there are the estimated 44,000 overnight visitors pouring $11 million into the local economy, plus the $225,000 spent by visiting teams.

The study looked at the seven ticketed sports out of UMD's 16 programs that "represent the vast majority of event attendance and spending," which are men's and women's hockey and basketball; football; volleyball; and women's soccer.

Brooks Johnson was an enterprise/investigative reporter and business columnist at the Duluth News Tribune from 2016 to 2019.
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