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Red Bull fans brought cold cash to St. Paul for Crashed Ice event

Financial calculations indicate that the giant crowd of 80,000 or so contributed mightily to the city’s coffers.

Financial calculations indicate that the giant crowd of 80,000 or so that came to watch the Red Bull Crashed Ice event in January contributed mightily to St. Paul’s coffers.

The Ice championships drew national competitors who skated down the elevated, 400-meter twisting ice course that was built near the Cathedral. Crowds were huge and parking scarce during the event.

The city’s tourism officials compared the city’s sales tax collections from January 2011 with January 2012, when the championships ran for three days, and found a $100,000 increase, year to year.

Because the city’s sales tax portion is a half-cent per dollar, that means an additional $20 million was spent in the city that month.

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And they looked at whether other big events might have contributed to the increased spending, but say they found the “last two Januarys showed similar concerts and events at Xcel Energy Center and Saint Paul RiverCentre as well as Winter Carnival events.”

Or did the recession let up for a month in 55102? Were Securian employees pre-spending some of their record-breaking profit sharing that was announced a few weeks later?

But officials give Red Bull the credit.

Karolyn Kirchgesler, president & CEO of Visit St. Paul, said:

“We knew the day of the event that Red Bull Crashed Ice brought thousands of people and unparalleled excitement to Saint Paul. But now we have empirical data to show the economic impact level that an international event of this nature has on the city.”

Two Cities blog, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul City Halls, is made possible in part by grants from The Saint Paul Foundation and the Carolyn Foundation.