Marathon boosts local economy

By Yun Choi
BU News Service

The 123rd Boston Marathon and Marathon-related events, such as the Boston Marathon Expo and the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) 5K race, are expected to add more than $200 million to the Greater Boston economy, according to the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.

This is the second year in a row that the Boston Marathon’s estimated economic impact on the Greater Boston economy surpasses the $200 million mark. Last year, the event injected $201 million into the local economy.

The Marathon’s economic impact is calculated by adding up five components:

  1. Total spending by the more than 30,000 runners and their guests at the marathon and marathon-related events.
  2. Charity fundraising by marathon participants
  3. Total spending by spectators and visitors at the marathon and marathon-related events.
  4. Total sponsorship and media-related spending.
  5. Total spending by the Boston Athletic Association.

Generally, more than half of the money added to the economy comes from spending by marathon runners and their guests. The Visitors Bureau did not disclose the specific amount of each component.

From 2015-18, the amount of each component steadily increased year over year, except for spending by the BAA; it was $500,000 less in 2017 compared to 2016. During this timeframe, charity fundraising increased the most in terms of percentage change and value compared to all other components. It increased by $10 million, or 40 percent, between 2015 and 2018.

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