(Edited press release)
The economic impact of Monmouth Park hosting the Oct. 26-27 Breeders' Cup World Championships is estimated to be $57.6 million, according to a study released Monday by the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
"We knew the numbers would be big, but I don't think anyone thought they would be that big," said Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of racing at the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, which owns and operates Monmouth Park.
"What this study confirms is that everyone in New Jersey will benefit from the Breeders' Cup--either indirectly through increased tax revenues or directly through actual contact with the event."
The study points out that, "In the case of Monmouth Park, the reasons for hosting the Breeders' Cup are, in part, to provide a boost to the state and local economy, and to enable Monmouth Park and the state of New Jersey to catch the eye of both national and international horsemen and horse racing fans, and provide for a long-term stimulus for horse racing in the state."
The Breeders' Cup is comprised of 11 races over two days, with purses totaling $23 million. Three races will be conducted Oct. 26, and eight Oct. 27. The Oct. 26 Breeders' Cup races were added after the study was commissioned, and the additional impact of these events were therefore not included in the findings.
"Adding those races on Friday will likely push the overall economic impact past the $60 million mark," said professor Michael Lahr of Rutgers' Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, who along with his colleague, Paimaan Lodhi, conducted the study.
"The reason the economic and fiscal effects loom so large for a one-time event is that Monmouth Park wouldn't otherwise be used since the racing season is over. Moreover, both the horsemen and fans that attend the Breeders' Cup races will come largely from out-of-state--even from overseas. Local hoteliers and restaurateurs will be pleasantly pleased."
Some of the highlights from the study include the addition of 515 full-time job equivalents, a total of $6.1 million in tax revenues, and $15.3 million in visitor spending brought to the Garden State.
"It's seeing numbers like these and knowing what it will do for New Jersey and that invigorates everyone here to ensure that this event is something the state will be proud of," Dowd said.
The State of New Jersey provided $25.7 million to Monmouth Park for investment and improvements to the facility in preparation for this year's Breeders' Cup. Among the renovations at the 60-year-old facility were a new turf course that debuted in 2006, modernization of the elevators and escalators, roof repairs, new sound and video systems, upgraded electrical systems, improved concession and food and beverage areas, and a new wagering teletheater, which is set to open this summer.
"To be frank, our revenue-related estimates are conservative since we didn't account for possible rises in regular-season attendance due to Monmouth's improvements, or from renewed local interest in horse racing that may result," said Lahr. "The capital investment in the racing venue will be some of the most effective advertising dollars the state could spend to enhance tourism, spur local real estate values, and generate state and local tax revenues. In net, the overall benefits from the Breeders' Cup will well outweigh its costs."