Games an Xtra economic boost | AspenTimes.com
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Games an Xtra economic boost

Janet Urquhart
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Winter X Games 10 generated an extra $3.37 million in Aspen retail sales during a nine-day period at the end of January, according to an analysis by the city’s finance office.The tourist accommodations and specialty retail sectors saw the biggest increase in business during the event, which packed hotels and lodges, and proved a boon to trendy shops that appeal to the games’ younger demographic.The January retail sales summary concludes the X Games increased retail sales by an estimated $374,844 daily between Jan. 23 and 31. In other words, 32 percent of daily retail sales during the last nine days of January are attributable to the X Games, according to the report.”The X Games most notably had the single largest impact on Aspen for the month of January,” the report notes.

The numbers, however, are based on the daily gross retail sales of just 16 businesses that provided data to the city – a statistically invalid sample.The city is encouraging local businesses to participate in a weekly survey of gross sales, broken down by day, in order to quantify the effect of special events on the resort’s retail economy. So far, 36 businesses have agreed to participate, but only 16 have filled out the survey for the X Games period. The numbers may change as more data comes in, according to Trevor Smith, an intern with the finance office who produced the report.The businesses that reported sales during the X Games represented seven of the 14 sectors tracked by the city.The city’s regular January sales report for all 14 categories should be available next week, but the monthly reports don’t break out sales for specific days or weeks.

Also, according to the daily sales summary, this year’s Wintersköl celebration, Jan. 12-15, boosted sales by $253,997 per day, or by more than $1 million over the four-day span. During Gay Ski Week, Jan. 16-22, sales increased by $1.6 million – or by $241,146 per day.Businesses that provided narrative responses to the survey expressed overwhelming support for in-town events associated with the X Games, according to the report. Some suggested a “dine around” or “pub crawl,” though plenty of X Gamers already manage to make their way into the town’s watering holes.”After attending a number of events myself, I believe there may be more opportunities to bring events into town during the day,” Smith wrote. “I think that foot traffic could drastically increase if there were more autograph-signings in town, a big-air contest at Aspen Mountain, a competitors art exhibition, etc.”This year’s X Games were complemented by two nighttime, weekend concerts in Wagner Park and a wallride competition, also featuring a live band, at the base of Aspen Mountain.

Smith advocated downtown events from 2 to 5 p.m. or a big-screen TV in town that shows the events going on at Buttermilk.ESPN and the Aspen Skiing Co. have extended their contract to hold the Winter X Games at Buttermilk to 2010, network and Skico officials announced during this year’s games.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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