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Boise State Releases Study On Economic Impact Of Downtown Boise Arena

Boise State University’s Center for Business Research and Economic Development has released a study on the impact of CenturyLink Arena (formerly Qwest Arena) in downtown Boise showing that the arena and its affiliated sports franchises are a significant contributor to the local economy, pumping in about $7.7 million each year.

Economics professor Don Holley, who has been studying Idaho’s economy for more than three decades, was the lead researcher on the first-ever analysis of the arena’s operations. Arena owners Block 22 requested and provided funding for the assessment to offset faculty time and expenses.

“One of the core competencies of the faculty in the Department of Economics is economic impact analysis and Don Holley has been at the center of many of these studies,” said Brian Greber, director of the Center for Business Research and Economic Development. “The key to doing credible economic impact work is to be sure the focus is on new dollars and new jobs that a business or activity brings to the economy. Utilizing university experts aids in credibility of these findings, and can help businesses and policy makers better understand their economy.”

According to the study, CenturyLink’s three operations — the arena, the Idaho Steelheads professional hockey team and the Idaho Stampede professional basketball team — account for the equivalent of 50 full-time jobs. That is significant, Holley said, given that in Ada County there are more than 12,000 firms and less than 5 percent of them have 50 or more employees.

The direct benefits of the operation are felt downtown, primarily in the bars and restaurants close to the arena, and by hotels and vendors to the stadium operations. But secondary or indirect benefits are spread throughout the valley depending on where the employees live and spend their money.

Boise State’s College of Business and Economics has engaged with hundreds of businesses and organizations during the past few years. The Center for Business Research and Economic Development serves as the central point for all outreach efforts. Other recent projects include helping Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center develop a financial planning model for a pre- and post-natal immigrant care facility; working on volunteer handbooks for Global Lounge, an organization working to promote cultural diversity in the Treasure Valley; conducting market research for a manufacturing firm looking to relocate to the valley; and working on a strategic assessment of how to best use the Expo Idaho facilities.

The overall goal is to provide a foundation for business success, create a more robust climate for hiring and hone students skills under the mentorship of faculty and business partners, Greber said.

For more information, visit or call (208) 426-4950.


Media contact: Sherry Squires, University Communications, (208) 426-1563,

About Boise State University
As an emerging metropolitan research university of distinction, Boise State University plays a crucial role in the region’s economic development and famed quality of life. Idaho’s largest institution of higher education offers nearly 200 degrees and certificates in seven colleges. While remaining committed to the strong teaching legacy that has resulted in 11 Idaho Professor of the Year awards since 1990, Boise State’s added emphasis on innovation and creativity is fueling the fastest growing research program in Idaho.

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