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Rock 'n' Roll Marathon atop city's sporting events
General - News

In hindsight, it was a can’t-miss combination: adding a half-marathon to the already successful Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon and having both races finish at SeaWorld.

A record 29,858 runners registered for the June 6 event, and now a study shows just what economic difference the changes to San Diego’s signature marathon made.

The report, prepared by Scott Minto, director of the sports MBA program at San Diego State University, suggests that for the first time, the race generated more hotel room stays and had a larger economic effect than the Holiday Bowl, another big annual San Diego sporting event.

The marathon generated 41,766 hotel room nights and $54.2 million in economic impact, including more than $34 million in direct visitor spending, according to the study. It attracted 37,463 out-of-town visitors.

Minto’s study was based on survey data from 7,505 runners.

A similar economic study for the Holiday Bowl by SDSU’s Center for Hospitality and Tourism Research found that the 2009 college football game between the University of Nebraska and the University of Arizona generated $40.7 million in overall economic impact and 43,951 hotel room nights. It attracted 43,944 fans from outside the county.

Going forward, it seems these events could duel for the title of the city’s largest annual sporting event. (The Farmers Insurance Open, a professional golf tournament organized by the Century Club at Torrey Pines and until recently known as the Buick Open, has an annual economic impact of $25 million to $30 million, according to Farmers Insurance.)

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