Economy benefits from SEC, homecoming

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COLUMBIA - MU homecoming brings a lot more to Columbia than alumni and families.

Homecoming is a source of revenue for the city, and in combination with other sporting activities, it has increased over the past few years.

A study done by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Columbia Convention and Visitor's Bureau showed that in 2013, the total economic impact on the fiscal year was $142,117,870.  This study proved that sporting events, since joining the SEC, created new jobs, more economic opportunities and generated more local expenditures.

Megan McConachie works with the bureau and said hotels and restaurants are greatly impacted by the SEC and homecoming, but they are just one part of where the revenue comes from.

"So, everything from a Walmart all the way to a local business in the District are going to get patronized more because people are in town and they need things, or they just like to go shopping," McConachie said.

One local store owner, Elly Bethune, caters to these out-of-town guests as well.

"I try and do a fun rivalry, mannequin wise," Bethune said.  "So with the team coming in, let's say their colors are red, we'll do like a red window and a black and gold window, so they kind of see, 'hey, I can buy something in there, too.'"

McConachie said homecoming brings in more revenue than other events for a different reason.

"Homecoming weekend is a really great event because people tend to come in a little bit earlier and stay a little bit longer because they activities are so spread out," McConachie said. " So house decs tonight, parade and football tomorrow, that often will extend a visit and keep people here longer, and get them more invested in the community."

Homecoming events take off Friday night, and the game is against Vanderbilt on Saturday.

(Editor's Note: Bethune was corrected from Betchune)