SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Thunderbirds announced the results of an economic impact study on Wednesday.

The study was done by the UMass Donahue Institute and was about the economic impact of the T-Birds on Springfield and the region. According to the Springfield Thunderbirds, the team’s operations have generated a staggering $126 million for the local economy since 2017.

“The Thunderbirds organization is proud of the incredible impact we have had on businesses, employees, and communities throughout the Pioneer Valley. Our local ownership group joined forces in 2016 not just to save professional hockey in Springfield, but to ensure our organization became a driving force for the region’s civic and economic life. Since that time, we have enjoyed success both on and off the ice: record attendance, a Calder Cup Final appearance, memorable celebrity appearances, community events, and even the AHL All-Star Game. This report by the UMass Donahue Institute utilizes economic data to quantify this impact and bring the T-Birds success story to life,” said Nathan Costa, President of the Springfield Thunderbirds.

The study shows that 78% of T-Birds fans spend money on something other than hockey when they go to a game, including 68% who are patronizing a bar, restaurant, or MGM Springfield. The study also found that median spending by fans outside the arena is $40/person on game nights and that every $1.00 of T-Birds’ revenue is estimated to yield $4.09 of additional economic activity in the Pioneer Valley.

“As the Thunderbirds’ Presenting Sponsor, and as the manager of the MassMutual Center, we witness first-hand the impact the team has on our local economy. For over thirty nights each season, the T-Birds draw thousands of hockey fans to downtown Springfield, filling the bars and restaurants along Main Street and MGM. The success of the Thunderbirds – both on and off the ice – is a story that should be celebrated. In just seven years we have gone from nearly losing professional hockey to having one of the AHL’s most admired franchises,” commented Chris Kelley, President of MGM.

Mayor Sarno states, “I don’t really need an economic impact study as I know first-hand the tremendous and positive economic impact our Springfield Thunderbirds have had upon our Springfield, especially our downtown.  The economic spinoff effect on local businesses, restaurants, and hotels has been outstanding.  In addition, the T-Birds have been an incredible morale boost for our city, especially during the playoffs!  I want to thank Nate Costa and his team, along with Paul Picknelly and our local ownership group for their continued belief and investment in our Springfield.”

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