Guess what? Tennesseans spend gobs of money on hunting and fishing stuff and, because of that, employ untold numbers of people.
Under the category of “Hey look we’re important, too,” the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation has done a study that shows that the state’s 775,000 hunters and anglers spend $1.3 billion a year. That’s like pushing out a press release with a blaring headline that states Tennesseans like football.
The figures on Tennessee’s spending were part of a national study the organization released titled “Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy — A force as big as all the outdoors.” Texas topped the list of number of sportsmen, 2.6 million, and impact, $6.6 million.
There’s no doubt that hunting and fishing enthusiasts spend a lot of dough. An angler would like nothing better than to see a $40,000 tricked-out bass boat in the driveway for Christmas. And, a hunter somewhere will see a gun under the tree more powerful than Ralphie’s Red Rider Air Rifle.
But the spate of economic impact studies over the years with their grandiose statements to drive home the point of a particular group’s importance may well be diminishing the impact of the impact study.
Studies now are being received with a roll of the eyes as those who ordered the study deliver it with straight faces. The aim is more about showing importance to push a political agenda than anything else. With sportsmen, its gun rights, conservation and environmental issues and basically protecting the ability to hunt and fish.
The sportsmen’s study is especially entertaining and far exceeds the Nashville airport’s impact study last month in grandiosity. Everything is enormous, astounding and more than some other activity.
Going beyond the title’s “big as all the outdoors,” for example, the study notes that Tennessee sportsmen support more jobs than the combination of Nissan’s plant in Decherd, Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, Saturn and Spencer-based convenience store operator Parkway Southside.
The comparison smacks of looking at some of the state’s top employers and selectively adding up recognizable names to get the desired number for comparison, which is 22,500 to 22,200.
More people hunt and fish than go to Tennessee Titans games and the spending exceeds the revenue of three of the state’s fastest growing companies.
Going national, spending by hunters and anglers exceeds the combined revenues of Microsoft, Google, eBay and Yahoo, $76 billion compared to $73.6 billion. That $76 billion would rank it 57th in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product of a country, according to the study.
The source wasn’t included but based on World Bank 2006 rankings, the sportsmen GDP actually would fall 56th behind Kazakhstan and ahead of Bangladesh.
What would an impact study be with out the multiplier effect? Nationally, the $76 billion spent ripples to $192 billion.
Everyone knows it’s a lot of money whenever billion is behind the number. There isn’t much need to embellish it.
Still, it’s doubtful the studies will end. Coming soon: An economic impact study on impact studies.
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