Economic impact of final races in Reno tops $150 million

Economic impact of final races in Reno tops $150 million

By General Aviation News Staff · June 12, 2024

Economic and fiscal impact studies around 2023’s final National Championship Air Races (NCAR) in Reno show that the last races in Reno brought a total estimated economic impact of $158,641,993 to Reno and the surrounding areas.

Conducted by the University of Nevada, Reno’s Center for Regional Studies, the Economic Impact Study shows that there were 80,434 non-local attendees to the event, according to officials with the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA).

The study also concluded that there were a total of 113,236 unique attendees, with the majority coming from zip codes outside of Washoe County.

The economic impact value is derived from the number of people with non-Washoe County zip codes whose primary reason for visiting the area was to attend the air races, race officials explained.

In the study, the economic impact value considers the direct, indirect, and induced impact, as well as self-reported expenditures related to entertainment, lodging, travel, shopping, gambling, food and dining, and more.

It was anticipated the 2023 final flag in Reno would bring record numbers, and the forecast held true when the total estimated economic impact was revealed at $158,641,993, with $90,887,125 calculated as direct impact, the study found.

Additionally, it was determined that 1,153 full-time jobs were supported through visitor spending, according to race officials.

“The robust economic impact of the National Championship Air Races, largely due to the amount of non-local spending it attracted to the region, consistently led all special events held in Reno,” said Brian Bonnenfant, project manager for the Center for Regional Studies. “The Reno Air Races were a key cog for the Reno-Sparks tourism economy, provided decades of invaluable exposure to the region, and was one of our last links to introducing highly important aviation and aeronautics to future generations.”

The Fiscal Impact Study, conducted by Ekay Economic Consultants, was focused on tax revenue brought to the area due to the air races. Those results show several city and state authorities, including the State of Nevada, the cities of Reno and Sparks, Washoe County, and Washoe County School District, and others realizing an estimated $6 million from sales, business, and room taxes collected throughout the five-day event.

“While the final flag of the National Championship Air Races in Reno was waved, we are honored to have had an incredible impact on the community,” said Fred Telling, CEO of RARA. “Reno was RARA’s first home and as the town grew, so did we. Together we made Reno the pinnacle of air racing and that would not have been possible without our community, volunteers, local businesses and non-profits. We are thankful for all who have supported us in the area and hope you have felt our support as well.”

On May 23, 2024, RARA announced that Roswell, New Mexico, will be the new home of the National Championship Air Races starting in 2025.

Meanwhile, RARA is focused on producing the 2024 Reno Air Show, which will include a first ever evening show and headlining performances by two renowned military jet teams, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, plus the USAF F-16 Viper Demonstration Team, and more.

Tickets for the event, taking place Oct. 4-Oct. 6, are available at

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