A new 30,000-seat football stadium at Florida Atlantic University should generate $1.8 million in economic impact for the school and its surrounding community every game day, according to the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, a private nonprofit organization contracted by Palm Beach County to promote and market the county as a sports and sports tourism destination.
The Owls will play five home games in the stadium this fall, beginning with an Oct. 15 matchup against Western Kentucky.
While the $70 million stadium represents a major step for FAU, which has played its home games in a rented 20,000-seat off-campus facility shared with local high school teams, it's not immediately clear who's going to generate all that game-day commerce. Compare the $1.8 million projection with figures recently released by the University of Wisconsin, which drew near-capacity crowds averaging 79,862 fans last season. A research firm determined that the average Badger fan spent $232.53 (excluding tickets) while visiting Madison, which comes to a total game-day impact of roughly $1.86 million. Can FAU, which travels to Florida, Michigan State and Auburn this season, truly be expected to compete with much larger schools (with much larger stadiums) in terms of home-game economic impact?
An FAU media release issued today also reports a number that would seem fairly concrete. The stadium project created 2,000 jobs, including all work done onsite and offsite since official planning stages began in 2008. Last month, FAU players showed their appreciation by offering a free lunch to construction workers.