Nov 3, 2021 - Business

The Duke’s Mayo Classic pumped millions into local economy

Georgia Clemson game at Bank of America Stadium. Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios

About 85,000 tourists visited Charlotte for the Duke’s Mayo Classic games the first weekend of September, spending $26.2 million at hotels, bars, restaurants, breweries and other local businesses.

That spending translates to a total economic impact of $48.8 million, according to a new report from the Charlotte Sports Foundation, which puts on the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

  • One of Charlotte’s biggest weekends in live sports history, the games drew massive crowds to Uptown. The weekend included matchups between East Carolina/App State and Clemson/Georgia, both at Bank of America Stadium.

Why it matters: The record-setting numbers generated by the football weekend came at a much-needed time for Charlotte’s hospitality industry. Hotels in particular are still trying to recover from the dramatic slump in demand the pandemic caused.

[Related story: Behind the scenes at the Duke’s Mayo Classic, and the 72 hours that brought Charlotte to life again]

By the numbers: Visitors booked 28,623 hotel rooms on Sept. 4 (the Saturday of the Clemson/Georgia game). This set a single-day record for Mecklenburg County, according to CSF.

  • Attendance at the Clemson/Georgia game was 74,187, the third most attended game in Bank of America Stadium history.
  • Direct visitor spending generated $1.47 million in county sales and hospitality taxes.
  • Hotel revenue across Mecklenburg County for the three days topped $10.7 million, making this the fourth largest event Charlotte has hosted in terms of hotel revenue.

Of note: Charlotte added a few hotels since the last time the city hosted such a large-scale event. These lend themselves to the overall hotel revenue. For instance, the new 381-room JW Marriott Uptown opened in August.

  • The JW Marriott had only been open for 12 days by the time the Duke’s Mayo games took place. Still, the hotel sold out the entire weekend, a Marriott spokesperson said. The weekend provided a “significant boost for their opening month.”

“We thought going into the weekend that the numbers would be impressive, and they’ve really exceeded what we thought,” CSF executive director Danny Morrison tells Axios.

The weekend went by without any major hiccups. It was warm and sunny — optimal conditions for football and for the roughly 6,000 fans who flocked to Romare Bearden Park for ESPN’s College Game day Sept. 4.

“It’s just great that all the stars aligned,” Morrison said.


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