Horse Sense or Horse Hype? Estimating the True Economic Impact of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby on the Louisville Metro Area
In trying to assess the true economic impact of the Kentucky Derby on the Louisville region (north central Kentucky and south central Indiana counties), one can find two different estimates appear in doing a quick search on the internet. Some sources, such as the Kentucky Derby Museum, indicate that the economic impact of the Derby is around $217 million (Kentucky Derby Museum 2023) but never mention a source or study for this conjecture. In doing some research, this amount is determined to come from a 2001 study by the marketing research firm Wilkerson and Associates (LaMarra 2001), and therefore this value is over 20 years old and does not consider changes in inflation or changes in Derby attendance over the years. The attendance number for 2001 is 154,210 whereas for 2022 it is 147,290 with an all time Derby attendance peak of around 170,513 in 2015 (Loosemore 2022). The Consumer Price Index for this time period shows an increase in the general price level of 1.72 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2023).
Lambert, Thomas E., "Horse Sense or Horse Hype? Estimating the True Economic Impact of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby on the Louisville Metro Area" (2023). Faculty Scholarship. 869.