By closing credits, Sundance-goers put $80 million-plus into economy |

By closing credits, Sundance-goers put $80 million-plus into economy

closing credits, Sundance-goers put $80 million-plus into economy The number drops slightly from 2014 fest but beats the five-year average By Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

By the time the closing credits of the Sundance Film Festival rolled in February, the festival put $83.4 million into the state economy, organizers said on Thursday, indicating a cast of industry insiders, film lovers and others spent money in a wide range of categories while they were in Park City.

The $83.4 million figure is the amount of money that the festival added to the gross state product. It is a broad reading on Sundance’s impact on the economy. The number was down slightly from the $86.4 million added to the gross state product in 2014, according to Sundance. The tally was up from the five-year average of approximately $78 million, though. The festival has long been Park City’s most lucrative special event.

"It’s that consistency. We love to see people want to still gather," Sarah Pearce, the managing director of Sundance, said.

The Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Utah annually compiles the report. It was based on surveys of 810 people who attended the festival. The surveys were conducted in Park City and the Sundance locations outside of Park City.

Some of the major spending categories included:

  • $28.6 million on lodging
  • $15 million on meals
  • $9.2 million on unspecified retail purchases.
  • $4.4 million on recreation and entertainment
  • $3.2 million on car rentals
  • $1.8 million on unspecified other forms of transportation

    People from outside of Utah spent far more than state residents in each of the categories. Spending is an important category as the overall impact on gross state product is calculated.

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    The $28.6 million spent on lodging was down nearly $5 million from 2014. Pearce said a slightly higher percentage of festival-goers stayed with family or friends or they stayed outside of Park City, resulting in the drop.

    Some other highlights from the report included:

  • people attending the festival averaged $227.08 in spending each day. The total per-person average spending during the stay was $1348.92. Visitors spent far more than Utah residents. The daily spending was down by $8 from 2014. The report indicates more people from Utah attended in 2015, dropping the daily spending.
  • 46,107 people attended Sundance, up slightly from the 45,352 who attended in 2014. Nearly three out of every four attendees said they would go to screenings primarily in Park City, far more than any other location.
  • 43 percent of the attendees indicated their household income was $100,000 or greater.
  • 16.5 percent of the attendees said they intended to go to 15 or more screenings, the most popular answer
  • 34.4 percent of the attendees from outside of Utah said they planned to ski or snowboard during the festival while the rest said they did not or they were uncertain. Just 14.7 percent of festival-goers from Utah said they planned to ski or snowboard while the remainder said no or were uncertain.
  • the age of festival-goers was spread relatively evenly between four age groups running from the mid 20s to older than the mid 50s. The report indicated 13.9 percent of the attendees were between the ages of 19 and 25. Pearce said Sundance wants to attract the younger age group, including through providing programs designed for people between the ages of 18 and 25 and offering special ticketing options.

    "We want to inspire that next generation of film lovers," she said.