The L.A. organizers of the annual Electric Daisy Carnival this week said the economic impact of their last event on the Las Vegas area was worth $207 million.
Why are they telling us this? Well, such parties were shut out of the L.A. Coliseum and Sports Arena complex following the ecstasy-overdose death of a 15-year-old raver in 2010 and a subsequent scandal alleging side-payments at the public venues.
And so, the organizer wants to …
… rub it in: You know — all those dollars and jobs that could have stayed in L.A.
According to the report commissioned by promoter Insomniac Events and executed by Beacon Economics, LLC, the three-day June party saw 320,000 people who helped contribute $207 million to the Clark County economy.
Among the benefits, according to a statement by Insomniac:
… $28.3 million spent in accommodations, $19.8 million in transportation, $19.6 million in dining, $17.2 million in gaming, $10.5 million in entertainment and $7.9 million in retail.
It sounds a bit exaggerated to us, particularly since the promoter has a history of padding numbers (the attendance count was said to be 300,000 at the end of the fest, which we attended).
Ravers spent nearly $20 million on food? That's a lot of cash for ecstasy and 7-Eleven hot-dog water.
We kid. Sort of. But using organizers' original 300,000-attendee count that would be almost $66 a head for food, $57 a head for gambling and $94 a head for hotels alone (that's $217 on top of $250 tickets) in a town where young ravers were packed three and more to a room and Insomniac itself promoted sub-$100 room deals.
And, it wouldn't be logical to extrapolate these figures to the L.A. version of EDC, which saw about 160,000 or so people over two days, with a highly local audience (which would eliminate a lot of the food and lodging and all the alleged gaming).
And experts have disputed the economic impact of such special events, arguing that a region often ends up even because money spent at one happening is taken away from what would have been spent at another.
Of course that other place could have indeed been L.A.
There's no doubt lots of people spent lots of money during those June days in Vegas, and that L.A. would have seen at least some of that if EDC had stayed here.
The promoter says:
The festival created an estimated $13.1 million in tax revenue for state and local government, the equivalent of 2,018 full-time jobs, bringing in $84 million in income for workers in Clark County.
And Insomniac honcho Pasquale Rotella notes, rightly so, that some people who didn't even have tickets to EDC showed up just for the associated nightlife on the strip:
The activities surrounding the festival weekend brought fans to Las Vegas for several days before and after the event, so they were still able to get a taste of the EDC experience even if they did not have tickets to the sold-out main event.
Still, given the stank of the Coliseum-Sports Arena scandal here and the likelihood USC will take over management of the venues, we think Insomniac's wasting its money on these deftly chef'd economic-impact reports.
That is, unless it's using them as bargaining power for future negotiations at EDC's current venue, Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The promoter has three more years as part of a five-year contract there and promises that the party will be back bigger and better than ever next summer.
That part we don't doubt at all.