Boston Benefits Financially as World Flocks to City for Marathon

By Shannon Golden
BU News Service

Each year thousands of people swarm to Boston to attend the oldest marathon in the country. While Marathon Monday is one of the most anticipated days in Boston each year, the actual race is not the only reason the city looks forward to it.

The 2017 Boston Marathon is expected to bring in $192.2 million for the Boston economy, according to the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau (GBCVB). That’s the equivalent of $311 for every man, woman, and child living in Boston.

“The Boston Marathon and its related events provide an extraordinary kick start for our visitor season,” GBCVB President and CEO Patrick Moscaritolo said in a recent press release. “The Boston Marathon is the premier and most beloved event in our city and region, and our community looks forward each year to welcoming runners and media from around the world.”

There will be 30,000 official participants this year, including over 6,200 runners traveling from 94 countries outside of the United States and over 1,000 members of the media from more than 200 outlets.

The revenue rates have been increasing slowly each year. Last year’s marathon generated $188.8 million with an entry field of 30,816 athletes. The 2015 marathon generated around $181.9 million with 30,251 participants.

Although the expected revenue is high, it does not quite compare to other major marathons held in recent years in New York or Chicago. The TCS New York City Marathon’s economic impact in 2014 was $415 million. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon had an estimated $277 million impact in 2015.

The Boston Athletic Association released a breakdown of the impact that this year’s marathon is expected to have on the economy.

The 30,000 participants and families at the marathon and related events are expected to spend around $104.6 million this year. Charity fundraising is expected to be around $30 million and spending by spectators and visitors is expected to be around $31.4 million.

When you add in an expected $15.2 million in sponsor and media-related spending and the BAA’s own $11 million in spending, total spending is expected to come up to around $192.2 million this year.

Moscaritolo told the Boston Business Journal that the $192.2 million is actually a very conservative estimate.

“Because it’s a free event and it’s spread out over a 26-mile course, it’s really impossible to know exactly how many people are actually there. All we know is that every one of them, including the runners, many of them who are from other states and from around the world are going to patronize local businesses and create a whole lot of spending,” he said.