Study Finds Bank of America Chicago Marathon Brings More Than $277 Million to Chicago Economy

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The Bank of America Chicago Marathon continues to provide significant growth to Chicago’s economy, with the 2015 race delivering an estimated $277 million in total business impact to the city, an increase of more than 9 percent compared to 2014. The findings come from the latest economic impact study reported today by Bank of America.

The event remains an important economic driver for the city, providing more than a quarter of a billion dollars to Chicago for the third year in a row.

The independent study is conducted by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Regional Economics Applications Laboratory. Study authors used the Chicago Region Econometric Input-Output Model to estimate the direct and indirect economic impact the marathon has on the local economy.

The latest report found the event directly contributed an estimated $112 million to the main sectors of the tourism industry, which includes travel, lodging, entertainment and transportation, in addition to another $165 million in indirect activity. This is an equivalent of 1,948 jobs and $94 million worth of wages and salary income. Each dollar spent by a race participant generated an additional $1.27 worth of activity distributed throughout Chicago.


“As the proud steward of this iconic tradition, Bank of America is pleased to support an event that continues to be a significant driver of economic benefit to the city of Chicago,” said Paul Lambert, Chicago market president, Bank of America. “The marathon’s economic impact continues to grow, increasing by more than $23 million from 2014 to 2015. The marathon’s success is largely due to our enduring partnership with the city, its residents and businesses.”

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon had 39,499 race participants pick up packets in 2015. Of those participants, 27 percent noted that they were visiting Chicago for the first time. Each year, the marathon attracts new visitors to Chicago and helps improve the image of the city as a leading tourist destination.

“The Bank of America Chicago Marathon continues to be a major demand generator each year, helping foster increased visitation to Chicago not only from throughout the United States, but also from around the globe,” said David Whitaker, president and CEO of Choose Chicago. “With 19 percent of participants traveling here internationally and 27 percent of runners visiting Chicago for the first time, the marathon strongly supports the city’s goal of increasing its visibility as a tourist destination.”

According to the 2015 study, the economic impact of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is highlighted by significant increases across multiple sectors, including:

  • $277 million in total business impact to the city, an increase of more than 9 percent compared to 2014.
  • $112 million in direct impact of the tourism industry, an increase of nearly 10 percent compared to 2014.
  • Spending on transportation more than doubled to $18,574,405, a nearly 180 percent increase compared to 2014.
  • Spending on shopping nearly doubled to $33,075,426, a 96 percent increase compared to 2014.
  • Spending on entertainment increased by 51 percent to $8,067,671.

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