STUDY: Kentucky Derby Festival brings $128 million - WDRB 41 Louisville News

STUDY: Kentucky Derby Festival brings $128 million into local economy

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- An economic impact study by the University of Louisville tells us that Kentucky Derby Festival events pump $128 million into the local economy.

It's been ten years since there was a similar study, which meant the Derby Festival decided it was time once again to see what kind of economic impact the 70 events that make up the festival have on the community.  Thunder over Louisville generates the most money, with a $56 million impact.

The study was conducted by students in the masters program at U of L's School of Business.  They surveyed people at last year's events.

Because attendance was down last year due to excessive rain and flooding, the study used average attendance over five years to come to its conclusions.

"It would not have done justice to the Derby Festival or the city for us to present findings based on mediocre attendance," says study director Will Donaldson,"that is not their fault, that is just mother nature playing a hand."

Derby Festival President Mike Berry says, "We want to make sure the festival is still delivering an economic impact.  We know that folks are coming into the community, that they are celebrating here, and that the festival is more than just good times, it's big business and $128 million in a two week period is an incredible big business."

The Derby Festival donated $5,000 to the scholarship fund at the business school in return for the survey.

This list from KDF breaks down the impact of selected events: 

  • $1 Million Hole in One Golf Contest – economic impact: $306,588
  • Basketball Classic – economic impact: $990,897
  • Chow Wagon/Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront – economic impact: $16,472,795
  • Great Balloon Glow – economic impact: $5,079,449
  • Great Bed Races – economic impact: $465,448
  • Great Steamboat Race – economic impact: $703,535
  • Marathon/miniMarathon – economic impact: $4,923,936
  • Pegasus Parade – economic impact: $22,462,902
  • Ramble for the Roses – economic impact: $424,468
  • Run for the Rose' – economic impact: $192,351
  • They're Off! Luncheon – economic impact: $160,579
  • Thunder Over Louisville – economic impact: $56.663,177
  • WineFest – economic impact: $136,194

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