Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bollywood Didn't Bring $100 Million to Tampa, After All

From all indications, Tampa's Bollywood experiment was a great success.  Huge crowds flew into town for a beautiful Florida weekend.  The international exposure is great.  And today's Tampa Tribune praised city & event leaders for coming through "with flying colors."

Success with big events like these are great for a city's reputation and can pay long-term dividends both economically and sometimes socially as well.

But they also serve as great lessons in economic projections and the grand promises that come along with big events.  When Visit Tampa Bay and local leaders announced Bollywood last year, they knew they could make almost any claim because few (if any) watchdogs would question them.

That's what I'm here for.

Most of our questions about economic impact before the event were more or less blown off.  But yesterday, my WTSP-TV colleague Mark Rivera compared the initial projections (somewhere between $18 million economic impact and $100 million impact?!?) to the most recent projections (revised down to an arbitrary figure of $15 million).

Rivera also reported the local hotel/motel association would have preferred to sell a few more rooms:
Bob Morrison says there was a big spike in "room-nights" around a week from the event. He says 10 to 12,000 room-nights were booked for the IIFA awards.
When I checked for hotel rooms last week, most websites had plenty of hotels available, many offering steep discounts.  Not exactly RNC-style sellouts.

But at the end of the day, filling extra rooms is a good thing.  Filling some local restaurants is a good thing.  And the international marketing is a great bonus.

Tampa leaders were smart to limit their financial exposure on this one; although behind-the-scenes, I understand there was a lot of private-donor arm-twisting.

And just to make sure no good event goes without worthless economic impact studies, Visit Tampa Bay, Bollywood's biggest cheerleader no matter what controversy came its way, will reportedly conduct a post-event economic impact study....because that will be credible.  Can't wait to see how many public dollars the agency spends to pats itself on the back.

1 comment:

  1. The good news is that the Glazers made $162K on the Bollywood extravaganza at RayJay on Saturday night (4/26/2014). The further good news is that TSA made $162K as well since the non-Buc event revenues for the in-progress TSA fiscal year have now exceeded $2 million. Recall that the Glazers get 100% of the first $2 million and just 50% of anything over $2 million.