and Economic Impact Study of
Baltimore‟s New Year‟s Eve Spectacular
Forward Analytics, Inc.
3234 Eastmont Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Highlights of the Study
Baltimore‟s New Year‟s Eve Spectacular is a tremendous asset that enriches the City‟s
quality of life and attracts visitors from all over the state of Maryland and throughout the
country. Perhaps there is no better place to watch the region‟s longest and largest New
Year‟s Eve fireworks display than over the waterfront of historic Inner Harbor. The
celebration triggered a positive economic impact for the City as an estimated 50,000
visitors rang in the New Year at Inner Harbor and its surrounding neighborhoods.
? Baltimore‟s New Year‟s Eve 2010 attracted an estimated 40,000 visitors from
outside of the City of Baltimore. Approximately, 14,000 visitors traveled from
outside of the State of Maryland.
? New Year‟s Eve 2010 had a total economic impact on the City of Baltimore
business volume of $6.9 million, comprising $1.9 million in direct impact and a
further $5 million in indirect impact. Direct spending by visitors generated $93,219
in sales tax revenues for the State of Maryland.
? Overnight guests spent an estimated $226,670 at local hotels. Hotel expenditures
generated an estimated $17,000 in tax revenues that goes directly to the City of
Baltimore, and $11,333 for the State of Maryland.
? 73.2% of survey respondents indicated „fireworks at midnight‟ are the primary
reason for visiting Inner Harbor/downtown for New Year‟s Eve 2010. „Dinner at a
local restaurant‟ (45.8%) and „enjoying the atmosphere or socializing‟ (30.7%) are
also top reasons for visiting Inner Harbor/downtown on the Eve.
? Survey respondents were asked to rate the importance (on a four-point scale) of
fireworks, free staged entertainment, variety of restaurants/ food, and available
lodging. An overwhelming 92.2% of survey respondents indicate the fireworks
display to be very important or important. Free stage entertainment is very
important or important to 59.5% of visitors.
? 100% of interviewed restaurants and hotels strongly agree that Baltimore‟s New
Year‟s Eve Spectacular brings the City alive, creating an unparalleled
atmosphere and experience for Baltimore residents and visitors alike.
? 100% of interviewed restaurants and hotels strongly agree or agree that
Baltimore‟s New Year‟s Eve Spectacular fireworks display brings people to the
Inner Harbor/downtown area and creates a significant economic impact for
? Baltimore‟s New Year‟s Eve Spectacular proves to be a family-friendly event as
61.4% of visitors came with the family, and another 17.1% came with both family
and friends. Twenty-one percent of visitors came with friends.
? Forty percent all survey respondents earned an undergraduate degree, while
another 26.2% earned a post-graduate degree. Accordingly, 44% percent of
respondents indicate their household income to be $75,000 and above.
At the heart of Baltimore lies the Inner Harbor. It provides the lifeblood of Baltimore‟s th century, financial structure and the rhythm of its cultural identity. Starting with the 18Baltimore‟s harbor has been one of the Nation‟s major seaports and hence, commerce
In the 1970‟s, a distinctive arts and cultural identity began to flourish around the harbor.
Today, the Inner Harbor is a primary tourist destination. Nestled close to the water and
downtown, the Inner Harbor and ring of surrounding neighborhoods offer tremendous
diversity and the best of Baltimore‟s hotel, restaurant, and nightlife attractions.
An estimated 50,000 visitors came to Inner Harbor/downtown to ring in 2010. Baltimore
Office of Promotion & The Arts hosts the New Year‟s Eve Spectacular. This is a family-
friendly event that with live music starting at 7pm on the Eve. Despite the rain and colder
temperatures, at midnight visitors enjoyed the region‟s largest and longest fireworks display set over Inner Harbor.
Baltimore‟s New Year‟s Eve Spectacular is a free community celebration and gift to the
people of Baltimore and the thousands of visitors who gather here for the New Year. The
event‟s title sponsor, Ports America, realizes that their support is an investment in the local
economy as restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues reap the financial benefits.
The fireworks display over Baltimore‟s Inner Harbor brings the city alive, creating an
atmosphere and experience for that is simply priceless.
Purpose of Study and Methodology
Forward Analytics, Inc. was hired by Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts to
conduct audience research and an economic impact study for Baltimore‟s New Year‟s
Eve Spectacular. The primary goal of the research is to measure the economic impact
of the New Year‟s Eve Spectacular on the City of Baltimore, specifically its restaurants,
hotels, and retailers. Such information is crucial to analyze the return on investment (ROI)
for all constituents including; sponsors, local government, and the business community.
The study utilizes a customized survey to collect data from a random sample of visitors to
the Inner Harbor on New Year‟s Eve. Prior to the event, Forward Analytics collaborated with event planners to create a 2-page questionnaire. In-person interviews were
administered by Forward Analytics staff to 153 adult attendees (age 18+). The sample
size represents a statistical significance of +/-8% margin at the 95% confidence interval.
This means that the results reflect the answers between 90% and 100% of the total
population. The confidence level is considered significant for making sound business
In addition to the economic impact, the audience survey was designed to measure
sponsorship awareness, demographics, and to what degree the sponsored fireworks
display factor in drawing visitors to spend New Year‟s Eve at Inner Harbor or surrounding
The research also incorporates guided interviews with 10 hotels and 10 restaurants
located in the Inner Harbor and surrounding neighborhoods. Similar to the audience
survey, the goal of the merchant interviews is to gauge the impact of the New Year‟s Eve Spectacular and fireworks display on the volume of business and the dollars spent by
“Visit Characteristics” and Demographics
As mentioned, an estimated 50,000 people celebrated New Year‟s Eve 2010 at Inner Harbor and surrounding neighborhoods. Visitors came from all corners of Maryland and
from across the country. Audience research demonstrates that 80% of New Year‟s Eve visitors to Inner Harbor/downtown traveled from outside of downtown Baltimore to join
Residence of NYE Spectacular Visitors
Baltimore Metropolitan Area, 31.3%
not including downtown
In Maryland, but outside Baltimore 20.7%Metropolitan Area
For 19% of survey respondents, New Year‟s Eve was the first time in the past year that they visited Inner Harbor/downtown. Forty percent of survey respondents visited 2 or 3
previous times, while another 40% visited four or more times in the past year.
How many times in the past yeardid you
visit Baltimore‟s Inner Harbor/downtown?
1 time- 6+ times tonight 26.1%19.0%
4 - 5 times
2 - 3 times
Why do people visit Inner Harbor for New Year’s Eve and how long to they stay? With so many restaurants, bars and entertainment venues in the area, it‟s no wonder the crowd chose to ring in the New Year at this locale. Yet, when asked the primary reason for
visiting Inner Harbor/downtown for New Year‟s Eve, 73.2% of survey respondents
indicated „fireworks at midnight‟. „Dinner at a local restaurant‟ (45.8%) and „enjoying
the atmosphere or socializing‟ (30.7%) are also top reasons for visiting Inner
Harbor/downtown on the Eve.
What is the primary reason(s) for visiting Inner Harbor/downtown on New Year‟s Eve?
fireworks at midnight73.2%
dinner at local45.8%restaurant
Respondents were asked to chose up to three responses.
The smorgasbord of entertainment options in Inner Harbor and surrounding
neighborhoods enticed visitors to remain in the area throughout the entire span of the
evening‟s planned festivities. Over half of survey respondents (55.6%) spent 5 or more
hours in Inner Harbor and the surrounding neighborhoods, likely spending money and
stimulating the economy.
How many hours do you plan to spend in Inner Harbor
and the surrounding neighborhoods tonight?
1 - 2 hrs 6.5%
7+ hrs 30.1%
3 - 4 hrs 37.9%
5 - 6 hrs 25.5%
Visitor party size ranges from just one visitor to groups of 10+. The average party size is 3.6.
The mode for attendee party size, or the more frequently encountered party size, is two
persons. Pairs rank the highest proportionally (38.8%), followed by groups of four people
Sixty-six percent of attendees celebrated New Year‟s Eve 2010 with their spouses/partners,
while 24.8% celebrated with children. Another 31.4% of survey respondents rang in the
New Year with friends.
Who did you spend New Year‟s Eve with?
Respondents were asked to check all that apply.
Another survey question was designed to gauge the value of various entertainment
options when deciding to visit Inner Harbor/downtown for New Year‟s Eve. Survey
respondents were asked to rate the importance (on a four-point scale) of fireworks, free
staged entertainment, variety of restaurants/ food, and available lodging. An
overwhelming 92.2% of survey respondents indicate the fireworks display to be very important or important.
When deciding to visit the Inner Harbor/downtown for New Year’s Eve,
how important are the following?
80.4%80%70%60%50%40%30%11.8%20%7.2%0.7%10%0%very importantimportantsomewhatnot importantimportant
Free Stage Entertainment
80%70%60%50%40.5%40%28.1%31.4%30%20%10%0.0%0%very importantimportantsomewhatnot importantimportant
Variety of Restaurants/ Food
80%70%60%51.6%50%40%29.4%30%18.3%20%10%0.3%0%very importantimportantsomewhatnot importantimportant
80%70%60%50%40.5%40%26.8%22.2%30%10.5%20%10%0%very importantimportantsomewhatnot importantimportant
Perhaps the most revealing data regarding the importance of fireworks comes from the
following questions. Survey respondents were asked, “How likely would you have visited Inner Harbor/downtown for New Year‟s Eve if there were no fireworks display?” Sixty-
eight percent indicated not likely or not likely at all. That‟s an estimated 34,000 visitors
who would have spent their money elsewhere. Furthermore, 31.4% of survey respondents
were not likely or not likely at all to visit Inner Harbor/ downtown for New Year‟s Eve if
there was no music or stage entertainment. Clearly, Baltimore‟s New Year‟s Eve Spectacular and fireworks display attracts people to the Inner Harbor/downtown area
creating a significant economic impact for the local businesses.
Baltimore‟s New Year‟s Eve Spectacular proves to be a worthwhile investment and will
continue to generate economic impact for the City of Baltimore, specifically Inner
Harbor and the surrounding neighborhoods, for years to come. Seventy-five percent of
survey respondents are very likely or likely to visit Inner Harbor/downtown for New Year‟s
Eve in the next three years.
How likely are you to visit Inner Harbor/downtown
for New Year‟s Eve in the next three years?
Not likely at allNot likely2.4%4.8%
New Year‟s Eve is truly a “big tent” event in the sense that it is almost universally
celebrated no matter what age, gender, race, religion, music or sports affiliation.
The following data aims to provide quantifiable demographic information that can help
form, support, or benchmark the direction of the event.
? 4.6% are 18-24 year olds
? 25.5% are 25-34 year olds
? 48.4% are 35-49 year olds
? 19.0% are 50-64 year olds
? 2.6% are 65+ year olds
? 53.6% male
? 46.4% female
? 17.0% single
? 58.2% married
? 20.9% partnered
? 3.9% separated/ divorced
? 51.6% live with dependent children
? 6.5% high school graduates
? 26.8% some college/technical or vocations school
? 40.5% four-year college
? 26.2% post graduate degree
? 2.7% - less than $25,000
? 20.0% - $25,000 to $49,999
? 33.3% - $50,000 to $74,999
? 27.3% - $75,000 to $99,999
? 12.0% - $100,000 to $124,999
? 4.7% - $125,000+
Ethnic or Cultural Background
? 15.0% African American/ Black
? 5.9% Asian
? 75.2% Caucasian/ White
? 3.9% Hispanic
Economic Impact of Inner Harbor/Downtown Visitors
The need for information about the economic impact and financial benefits of special
events and festivals on communities and cities is imperative. Whether public or private
stewards, event managers face the challenge of communicating how an event will
generate enough financial gain to offset the money and effort required to produce it.
By clearly illustrating the economic impact produced by a social or cultural event, a link
can then be drawn to its role in the overall economic vitality of the community.
This section explains the direct and indirect business volume and government revenues
generated by visitors to Inner Harbor/downtown on New Year‟s Eve. While we can not
assume that all dollars spent in the area are attributable to Baltimore‟s New Year‟s Eve Spectacular, research demonstrates that the fireworks extravaganza plays a significant
role in drawing people to Inner Harbor/downtown. To reiterate these statistical findings,
68% of survey respondents indicated that they were not likely or not likely at all to visit
Inner Harbor/downtown if there were no fireworks on New Year‟s Eve. And 73.2% of respondents revealed that fireworks were their primary reason for celebrating at Inner
Economic impact generally measures new money brought into the economy by out-of-
area visitors. Spending by local residents, those residing in downtown Baltimore are not
included. Local spending merely represents a redistribution of existing money in the
community and as such is not considered new money.
With 50,000 people visiting Inner Harbor/downtown, market research determined that
20% of attendees reside in downtown Baltimore. And 40,000 people came from outside
of area bringing fresh dollars into the local economy.