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Downtown Arena Events Add $30 Million To Local Economy

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Big names and larger productions are the driving force behind an economic surge in Oklahoma City, according to city officials. Big names and larger productions are the driving force behind an economic surge in Oklahoma City, according to city officials.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Big names and larger productions are the driving force behind an economic surge in Oklahoma City, according to city officials.

Downtown businesses have seen roughly $30 million in additional revenue in the first four months of 2014 compared to the same time period last year, according to research statistics from the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Nearly $58 million has been added to the local economy since January 1, 2014.

Downtown businesses are thrilled. For Jordan Pack at Pinkitzel Cupcakes and Candy, Monday morning was spent prepping for the next big rush.

"We'll be dead like this and then all of a sudden it's just, boom, people," said Pack. "It can be a little overwhelming sometimes."

Much of the Pinkitzel's business comes from foot traffic following arena events less than a block away. Lately, the arena has been scoring some big names -- The Back Street Boys, Justin Timberlake, Avril Lavigne and James Taylor –- just to name a few.

"The productions have gotten much bigger, much larger," Chesapeake Energy Arena general manager Gary Desjardins said.

Desjardins broke down the economic impact per event. His research found that $75 is spent outside the arena per metro resident on average, while $234 on average is spent per visitor.

"Depending on who the artist is, often times it will draw more folks from outside the area," OKC Convention & Visitors Bureau president Michael Carrier said. "It can mean anywhere from $800,000 to a $1.5 million [per event], not counting the cost of tickets."

Carrier says the success paired with a tight arena schedule is giving way to talks of opening a new outdoor venue that may see a home at the future downtown central park. The discussions over a new amphitheater are preliminary, according to Carrier.

4/10/2014 Related Story: Several Country Stars To Headline First Annual OKCFEST

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