Thursday, 09 May 2024 12:59

Belmont Stakes Festival: A $50 Million Economic Impact. Where Does That Number Come From?

Belmont Stakes Saratoga 2024.  Belmont Stakes Saratoga 2024.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Last week, regional officials announced they anticipate the hosting of the Belmont Stakes Festival at Saratoga to have an economic impact in 2024 of upwards of $50 million.

Shifting to Saratoga next month, the 2024 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will begin on Thursday, June 6 and continue through Sunday, June 9. Belmont on Broadway meanwhile, billed as a locally based multifaceted celebration, is slated to take place June 4 -9 featuring concerts and other complimentary events to the 2024 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. 

That $50 million projection comes from applying a mathematical formula that takes the overall economic activity of the annual 40-day summer meet at Saratoga and assigning it to the number of days of the upcoming Belmont festival.   

“The historical number for the 40-day meet has been $370 million so we simply took what we knew to be fact - $370 million – and divided it by the number of days for the Belmont Festival on Broadway, including the Belmont Stakes. That’s how we came up with the $50 million,” Gregory Connors, president and CEO at Saratoga Economic Development Corporation, explained this week. 

That overall 40-day meet figure, at just over $370 million, was detailed in a study commissioned by the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency based on data from 2021 and released in 2023. The study additionally cited nearly $2.1 million of tax revenue in Saratoga Springs, almost $2.4 million in Saratoga County, and over $7.3 million of tax revenue in New York State as attributable to the 40-day meet. 

As a curious aside, of those counted as visitors to the racecourse during the 40-day meet, the study pointed to nearly 6 in 10 visitors as coming from outside of the Capital Region, and indicated that overall, just under half of all track visitors stayed overnight locally. It will be interesting to learn, if such movements are to be tracked, the way those numbers will trend for the Belmont.   

Saratoga Hosting Belmont Stakes 2024 & 2025, Scheduled to Return to Long Island in 2026 

Last December, the New York Racing Association announced the 2024 Belmont Stakes would be relocated to Saratoga Springs, and three months later followed up with an additional announcement that the 2025 Belmont Stakes would be staged in the Spa City as well. 

In its post-Kentucky Derby story published this week, the Associated Press referenced Saratoga as playing host to the Triple Crown’s final race for the next “three” years while Belmont Park is being reconstructed. It is a rumor that has been circulating throughout the spring – although no one in any official capacity has said likewise. To be clear, current plans for the near half-billion-dollar redevelopment of Belmont Park hold firm that renovations to Belmont Park are expected to be completed in time for the Long Island racetrack to host the Belmont Stakes in June 2026. 

Connors said he has not heard anything other than that the Belmont is expected to return to Long island in 2026.  “My sense is, and my personal opinion is that it’s all connected to the construction schedule on Elmont, Long Island at the Belmont track. If they’re on the construction schedule that they hope to be able to follow it’s more likely to be a two-year thing (in Saratoga),” he said. “In any event we know we’re going to put on a great show in 2024 and 2025.” 

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