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DNC Pumped Nearly $164M Into Charlotte Economy

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File photo of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

File photo of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A year before the first convention-goers set foot in town, Charlotte leaders insisted the city would reap the benefits of hosting a political convention.

A study released Monday seems to confirm their confidence, showing last summer’s Democratic National Convention pumped nearly $164 million into the local economy.

“This is a huge, huge, huge accomplishment for the city,” Mayor Anthony Foxx said at a news conference.

Charlotte was selected in early 2011 to host the political convention. At the time, Foxx and other Charlotte leaders estimated the event might generate up to $200 million in revenue, from the security expenses to delegate spending to the host committee contracts with local caterers and other businesses.

About 35,000 people attended the three-day convention, including delegates and journalists, at the Time Warner Cable Arena during the first week of September.

When it was over, the city called the convention a success. They said restaurants were filled at night. City leaders also were thrilled with the national exposure.

But the city wanted to quantify the success.

So several agencies, including the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, the city’s tourism arm, hired Tourism Economics to study the economic impact.

The company spent months pouring over data that included direct convention-related spending in a six-county area. That included how much visitors paid for food, hotels and retail. Then Tourism Economics subtracted what it called displaced income — money local businesses lost because of the convention.

Adam Sacks, managing director of Tourism Economics, said he wanted to take a conservative approach to the figures and not inflate the numbers.

Foxx said it was important to be accurate.

Foxx also predicted good things for the city as a result of the convention. During the political gathering, Charlotte was the center of the news cycle.

And the mayor doesn’t think it’s out of the question for Charlotte to one day bid for the Super Bowl or even the Olympics.

“We’re poised to do a lot of great things….I think a Super Bowl is within reach,” he said.

Charlotte has never made an organized attempt to get the annual NFL championship game. Panthers’ stadium was built in the mid-1990s and is older than half the others in the NFL.

And that’s a potential problem facing the city. The Panthers are seeking $125 million in public money to help pay for up to $200 million renovations to the stadium. Without the money, city leaders fear the team could move.

Asked if the city would be able to attract a Super Bowl without the improvements, Foxx said he would rather focus on the report.

“Charlotte is on the map and will stay on the map,” he said.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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