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Over a Cup of Coffee

by Jerry Hewitt
January 5, 2011 - Continental Indoor Football League (CIFL)

After their first season, the Odessa Roughnecks were presented an award from the Texas city for putting an additional $300,000 into the local economy.

Fans and media typically look at indoor football as entertainment. Any talk of giving back is normally confined to what teams do to help out in their communities in the way of charity work. But at its heart indoor football is a local business, and for the most part money generated by the teams goes right back into their communities. In these tough economic times, having an indoor football team can be a big asset to a community. Indoor football teams employ more than just the players that fans come out to watch. These employees are most often local to the community, employees that have families, and here we can see teams have a big local influence.

By my estimation, indoor football employs approximately 1600 full and part time personnel, including players, nationwide. This may not seem like a lot compared to a mega-corporation, but a small business that employs around 30 can have a major impact on a local economy. That's 30 less people looking for work and 30 more in a better position to meet their own financial obligations. Granted, indoor football may not be the multi-billion dollar business that the NFL is, but they still have a positive impact in the communities they serve. Overall, it puts hundreds of thousands of dollars into communities around the country.

I contacted a few teams to see what the payback to their local community might be. Most I contacted hadn't even considered what their football team does for the community outside of the usual player appearances and other charity work. Those deeds are big, but no bigger than the economic impact they have as a small business in their community. Nobody I talked to has actually penciled that out, but estimates ran from about 50 cents on the dollar to about 65 cents stays in the community. It's pretty easy to see where a team which has a $500,000 budget would be an asset to the community with anywhere from $250,000 - $325,000 going back into the community. And that's to say nothing of lease money going to a locally-owned venue and the like.

There also is the trickle down effect. I'm talking about the local venders that set up at games. Dollars generated by them are a direct result of a team and more money put into the local economy. Also on that list are a teams sponsors that benefit from increased sales by advertising with the team and local restaurants, bars and hotels which see increased business on game nights.

Each month a team has expenditures that don't go into the local economy, league dues being one. Another cost that most likely goes out of the area is equipment and football purchases. Even though these dollars don't go back into the local community, they do go into the nation's overall economy. Some travel expenses are made locally, while others are while some of end up in other indoor football communities as well with fans and teams spending money on the road.

A typical indoor football team will put several hundred thousand dollars into the local economy. That is not a small amount of change and numbers suggest a very positive impact on local communities which enjoy the sport of indoor football. Fans who support their team are also helping to support their community, and both the teams and the fans should take pride in helping out in these hard economic times.

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