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Baltimore Living

Best Tourism-Based Economic Impact


Mel Guapo

Best Tourism-Based Economic Impact: Otakon

Otakon, the three-day anything-goes anime celebration, is the city's largest and most lucrative convention. Drawing out-of-towners to Baltimore since 1999, Otakon sells out area hotels well in advance and intensifies area vendor sales, making a massive financial impression. Otakon saw its largest attendance in 2010, with 29,274 fans and staff. Visit Baltimore says it expects $18 million from Otakon through 2012, a low estimate considering its $12.5 million contribution in 2009. (Data for 2010 were unavailable at press time.) Baltimore hosted 88 conventions in the last three months of 2009, and two runners-up provided the city a combined 11,000 headcount. Down the street, Camden Yards struggles to fill less than half of its 50,000 seats, though it managed a $167 million impact with 86 games in 2006, the last year The Maryland Stadium Authority studied the economic impact of local sports teams; the Ravens boosted the state with $216 million that same year. That's $30 million per game for the Ravens, $1.9 million for the Os, and $4 million per day for Otakon. Not shabby for a bunch of fanboys and -girls.

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