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Estimated impact of 2010 skating event: $26 million

Spokane officials estimate the AT&T 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships will generate almost $17 million in direct spending and almost $1.4 million in local and state taxes.

Throw in a “modest” 1.75 multiplier to account for secondary spending, and the total economic impact comes in at $25.7 million, with tax revenues of $2.3 million, said Gavin Cooley, the city’s chief financial officer.

“We’ve taken a look at the impact the championships had in Spokane in 2007, and it was significant,” Cooley said. “We expect stronger results from the 2010 event.”

Next year’s championships will also determine the U.S. competitors at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., which start just 18 days after the Spokane event concludes.

Event promoters Barb Beddor and Toby Steward of Star USA noted Cooley’s figures fall in the middle of the $20 million to $30 million estimated for the 2007 championships. But interest will be much higher next year among all Olympic fans, not just the skating community, they said.

To make sure as many Spokane-area fans as possible – even those without tickets – can participate, Beddor said they are working with city officials to take some FanFest events outside River Park Square, including more fireworks shows.

“We want to be clear that this event is for everybody,” she said.

The city estimates tickets and concessions will generate $5.1 million in revenue. Restaurants and hotels will garner $3.34 million and $3.28 million, respectively, in additional business. Add $2 million for other spending, and almost $1 million on rental cars.

But Beddor and Stewart, who were hoping for a $600,000 state contribution toward event costs, said they are scrambling to backfill the gap after the Legislature whacked that sum to $200,000, then eliminated the appropriation entirely.

Although staggered, Beddor said, “We’re absolutely certain we will overcome it.”

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