A Letter from A.D. John Currie - September 22, 2016

Good Morning Wildcat Nation,

It was awesome to touch down yesterday afternoon at our expanding MHK Regional Airport after three days in Dallas for excellent Division I AD and Big 12 AD meetings.  After catching a few minutes of football practice I joined a great home crowd in Ahearn for our 23rd-ranked volleyball team's 10th straight victory, a 3-1 decision over Iowa State in our Big 12 opener.

We look forward to seeing you this weekend for two home soccer matches and of course our 6:10 p.m. Saturday football game against Missouri State, all of which will be broadcast live on K-StateHD.TV, the nation’s most-watched digital network (click here to order).  Today, I would like to deviate from my traditional department updates and address a special project that transpired over the summer.

As we strive toward our Vision of being a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program, periodically we should take a step back and assess our progress objectively while determining the most appropriate and attainable next steps. This past summer we took the time to perform an exhaustive study of who we are as a department, and today I am pleased to share our important findings and results.

As we have showcased in year-end documents such as the Annual Report and other materials, we have made tremendous strides as a department as it relates to our five core goals.  In this letter we focus on Goal #2: Value to the University, Community and State.  To help in the assessment, last spring we engaged nationally-renowned Angelou Economics, based in Austin, Texas, which also recently performed a similar study at the University of Texas, to complete a full economic impact study of K-State Athletics, utilizing data from 2014-15, and the results were astounding.

You can view the complete summary document from Angelou by clicking here, or a condensed infographic here, but I would like to share the highlights.  We know how electric America’s #1 College Town becomes when the Wildcats play, from filling Aggieville, downtown and area restaurants, to creating a demand that has seen in upwards of 10 new hotel properties be constructed in the past several years.  In all, according to Angelou’s research, which we also presented last week to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Athletics, K-State Athletics creates a total of $428 million in economic activity per year in Manhattan and the state of Kansas, which in turn has resulted in more than 4,075 jobs being created.

Visitors from outside of our local area have a tremendous impact on the economy as more than 428,000 people visit Manhattan each year for our various events, accounting for 257,000 hotel stays in the Manhattan and surrounding areas and an average expenditure per person equaling $289 over a 1.5-day stay, a total that continues to rise each year.  That comes out to $133.4 million in expenditures annually for those visiting Manhattan. A total of $42.1 million was spent at Manhattan area restaurants, and $42.5 million in our hotels.  As a reminder, there is a perception that hotels are fully booked during peak seasons such as football, but as I have stated before in previous letters, the addition of new properties has significantly enhanced our hotel room inventory in town and there are often rooms available as football gameday weekends approach.  Click here to visit the Manhattan CVB website for more details.

The $210 million in athletic facility enhancements that the Wildcat Nation has collectively made in order to provide a World-Class Student-Athlete Experience for our 450-plus student-athletes has not only benefitted our coaches and student-athletes, but it also has played a significant role in the growth of the economy.  Between 2011 and 2015, more than 2,585 jobs totaling $385.5 million in total economic output was accumulated due to our facility enhancement projects.

Our core mission as a department is to deliver a World-Class Student-Athlete Experience, and that includes providing our 450-plus student-athletes all the resources they need to grow and develop as a student, athlete and in life.  But that experience is also drastically enhanced by having the opportunity to spend four to five years here with the caring and wonderful people that comprise America’s No. 1 College Town and experience living in Manhattan.

All in all, Manhattan is a destination community for families and individuals of all ages, and the people of Manhattan – in addition to the 420,000-plus visitors annually – are what make our community so special.

A Carnegie Tier 1 Research Institution, a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program, the growth and expansion of Manhattan Regional Airport, the future arrival of the NBAF facility, a family-friendly yet vibrant community and loyal and dedicated fans and residents are all the reasons why Livability.com ranked The Little Apple as America’s No. 1 College Town.  And people across the nation are beginning to take notice!

Thank you for all that you do for K-State and the Manhattan community, and we will see you this weekend for Wildcat soccer and football.

Go Cats!

John