Louisville is fortunate to have the biggest race in horse racing right here in its back yard, but often residents take the Kentucky Derby for granted. If horse racing doesn’t appeal to you, you might become aggravated when businesses close early during Derby Week or the schools shut down on Oaks Day. Regardless, the Kentucky Derby is one annual event that is guaranteed to bring in money to the city.
One might assume that the city of Louisville and all its residents benefit, in some way, from the Kentucky Derby and the week-long festivities leading up to it, but just how much?
The most recent economic impact study was conducted in 2001 by Wilkerson and Associates. The study found expenditures by Kentucky Derby attendees brought $217.8 million to the economy in Louisville and the surrounding areas during Derby weekend. Direct spending accumulated to $137.8 million. Indirect spending totaled $80 million. That’s a lot of money coming into our city due to a two-minute horse race, but it is the greatest two minutes in sports!