SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Carolina Panthers training camp at Wofford College this summer generated a record $13.2 million in economic impact to the community, according to an impact study by Clemson University for the Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).
The figure tops last year’s $13 million in economic impact, according to Chris Jennings, executive vice president of the CVB, which commissioned the report, released by Clemson University’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Department. The report also shows that the three-week camp supported more than 260 jobs.
“Carolina Panthers training camp has steadily made a bigger impact on our local economy, and this year’s report shows another increase,” Jennings says. “The total attendance of more than 100,000 visitors was impressive, but our bottom line is the bottom line – total economic impact. The growth this year is worth celebrating, and we’re already looking forward to next year.”
Riley Fields, director of community relations for the Panthers, notes that the 100,815 fans who attended camp this year is the second-highest attendance in the team’s 23 years of holding camp at Wofford – eclipsed only by 2016’s attendance of more than 135,000 fans following the team’s second Super Bowl appearance.
“The Carolina Panthers training camp has sustained significant growth in recent years. The support from Wofford College and the Upstate community are important contributors to the overall fan experience” Field says. “The community support helps drive the popularity of training camp for fans and creates the strong annual economic impact for the region.”
“We’re excited and proud that the team’s presence in the Upstate creates the opportunity for so many fans to come to training camp, and that those fans have such a great economic impact on Spartanburg and the region,” Fields says. “The team appreciates our fans, and we look forward to next year’s summer camp in Spartanburg.”
Wofford President Nayef Samhat says, “The Panthers summer training camp is one of the most exciting events we have on our campus, and we love welcoming all of the visitors here when they come to watch the team. Hosting an event that brings so many people, attention and economic impact to Spartanburg and the Upstate is gratifying. Wofford’s relationship with the Panthers is special and important to us and to the community.”
The total economic impact of the camp, compiled in a report by Clemson’s Dr. Bob Brookover, is based on attendance data gathered by the CVB and used the IMPLAN input/output model of economic impact. Total economic impact includes direct, indirect and induced spending. Indirect spending, based on the forecast model, includes a tourist buying a souvenir and the store owner using the money to spend on utilities, rent, inventory and other expenses. Induced spending, meanwhile, includes spending when a waitress receives a tip and then spends that money on the local economy.
The total attendance at training camp this year, from July 26 through Aug. 13, was 100,815. More than half of those visiting traveled more than 50 miles to see the Panthers in action at practice. Those who travel farther distances are more likely to spend money in the region, whether at hotels, restaurants or gas stations, Jennings says.