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VCU study says Redskins generated $10.5 million in economic impact

Katie Nesselrodt (lower right) and her son Aaron, 16, of Williamsburg wait to be seated in a crowded City Diner after attending the morning walk-through at the Redskins' training camp. The City Diner on West Broad Street across from the DMV headquarters is one of the area's businesses that have reaped the benefit of the Redskins' training camp.

Katie Nesselrodt (lower right) and her son Aaron, 16, of Williamsburg wait to be seated in a crowded City Diner after attending the morning walk-through at the Redskins' training camp. The City Diner on West Broad Street across from the DMV headquarters is one of the area's businesses that have reaped the benefit of the Redskins' training camp.

The first year of the Washington Redskins training camp had an estimated $10.5 million economic impact on the Richmond region, according to numbers released by the city on Monday that officials touted as surpassing early estimates.

Of that money, about $2.5 million went to the Redskins through on-site food and merchandise sales.

The city also profited, beating its own pre-camp projections by 27 percent and generating an additional $230,979 in taxes as a direct result of the camp, according to the report.

Those numbers do not include a $500,000 payment owed by the city to the Redskins to help offset the team’s costs. City officials could not immediately say Monday how and when that payment had been made.

Mayor Dwight C. Jones touted the better-than-expected tax numbers, as well as the positive media coverage of the city, which was valued at $33.4 million by a media-monitoring firm.

“We had a tremendous first year that we believe can only continue to get better,” Jones said in a statement.

According to the financial study, which was conducted by the Center for Sport Leadership at VCU and Richmond Region Tourism, training camp was attended by 53,932 people, about half of whom came from outside the Richmond region.

The city had estimated that the camp would draw 100,000 visitors per year. The total attendance announced when the camp concluded was 165,571, but that figure counted some people several times as they entered the gates for multiple practice sessions.

The report was publicly released about 15 minutes after the Richmond City Council began a meeting, and several council members said they were seeing the numbers for the first time.

“The initial report from the administration appears to show that it was a very successful training camp for the city and the region,” said Council President Charles R. Samuels, 2nd District. “We’re going to look through and make sure that that is really what’s being said. Right now, it looks like it’s real good news.”

The out-of-town attendees generated $7.8 million in economic impact for the region, while the team generated $2.7 million in activity through hotel nights, transportation, meals and other expenses.

The Redskins didn’t charge for admission, but the team found a way into visitors’ pockets anyway.

The study estimated that visitors spent $67.88 at the team’s pro store on average, and an additional $20.46 on on-site food and concessions.

Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said last week that the camp was “the best thing we did on a football field this year” and added that he is looking forward to the 2014 edition.

The impact on local restaurants and shops was significantly less, though still noticeable, according to the report.

Comparing the same restaurants from 2012 to 2013, the city of Richmond collected $11,316 more in meals taxes during August, the month in which the bulk of training camp took place.

That number includes the entire month of receipts. Counting just days when camp was in session, the city made about $6,000 more than in 2012.

In a presentation released by the Redskins, the positive media exposure was highlighted front and center. Several dozen credentialed reporters were on hand to document the camp, including national outlets.

The TVEyes News Monitoring Service, Repucom and Meltwater firms estimated the exposure to the city was valued at $33.4 million, including $2.1 million for the groundbreaking ceremony alone.

That presentation estimated that 36 percent of training camp visitors came from outside the Washington and Richmond areas.

“It’s been unbelievable, it’s been spectacular, and we just appreciate it,” team owner Dan Snyder is quoted as saying in the presentation. “The fact that people come down from Washington, from Maryland, from Delaware, from North Carolina. I mean, everywhere. They’ve really decided to make this a special place.”

Initial projections by the city, which were provided by Chmura Analytics, estimated an annual economic impact of $8.5 million.

gmoomaw@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6839

Twitter: @gmoomaw

mphillips@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6546

Twitter: @michaelpRTD