Written on October 3, 2012 at 11:22 am
While many residents of Boca Raton and South Florida will tune into the third presidential debate on Oct. 22 to watch the candidates discuss the finer points of foreign affairs, a much wider audience across Boca Raton and the region will see this event. And Boca Raton will be a huge beneficiary.
Make no mistake, in each market where the Presidential Debates are held, they’re a big affair – and big business. Their impact is measured in the thousands of arriving participants and attendees and millions of dollars in economic impact.
Then there’s the halo effect of the positive publicity such an event brings to the local market. Even local businesses share in the glory; almost two dozen sponsors – Danburg Properties of Boca Raton included – are either sponsoring the debate or taking a cabana to watch the event from the Lynn grounds.
The impact is undeniable. In Denver, Colorado, the site of the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, business leaders there anticipated more than $15 million in economic impact generated by thousands of attendees.
It’s much the same in Boca Raton. Local organizers here are anticipating up to 9,000 journalists, academics, support staff and others to descend upon Boca Raton for the Oct. 22 event at Lynn University. Their financial impact between food and dining, lodging, other travel-related costs, and professional services spent across the Palm Beach and Broward county markets, could top $20 million, according to city projections.
Even local watch parties around town will generate financial impact for area businesses and restaurateurs.
Then there’s the longer term, lasting halo effect of a globally televised event. Those who’ve watched the impact a Super Bowl, World Series or college football national championship played in South Florida have witnessed, the “money shots” of a South Florida sunset or boats motoring along the Intracoastal or the Atlantic are priceless. The images instill in viewers a positive impression of this tropical, vacation destination. Supporting messages from area communities can help build brand awareness.
Even CEOs looking on from a distant community and watching the business and educational community come together to support the debate might see Boca Raton in a different light – as an expansion or relocation destination for their corporate headquarters.
And aside from the financial and in-kind costs borne by Lynn University as the host institution, or area municipalities and police organizations helping protect the candidates and their entourages, all this publicity is free.
That’s a return on investment we all will enjoy and be talking about for years to come.