They are called everything from crazy to determined, but one thing marathoners are not typically called are economic stimulators. The latest figures coming out of the Bank Of America sponsored Chicago Marathon may change the image of Marathons.

The fact that big banks do not have the best reputation is almost non-debatable, but every now and then they do something that’s, well, not so bad. As proved by the $170 million worth of business activity delivered by the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

The Chicago Marathon Brings In Millions

The Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (R.E.A.L.) team over at the University of Illinois at Urbana crunched the numbers and this is how the spending broke down:

  • Tourism Industry Sectors: $70.6 million
  • Indirect Activity: $100.9 million
These numbers can be translated into an approximate 965 full time jobs, and $55.91 million worth of wages and income. With 45,000 participants, 10,000 of which were coming into Chicago, it is no wonder theses numbers are so impressive.

Are More Marathons the Answer?

Honestly? Probably not. But what Bank of America (NYSE: BOA) does do is provide sponsorship to a large scale event that attracts a lot of business to the Chicago-land area. Of course large scale banks have their charities and volunteer efforts, but it seems like what our economy needs right now are more targeted public events like the Bank of America Marathon.

ING (NYSE: ING) is another example of a financial institution sponsoring an infamous marathon, the New York City Marathon. The thing about sponsoring large-scale events like marathons is the amount of people it draws in; staying at hotels, eating at local restaurants and shopping at local stores greatly increases — helping city commerce out.

Maybe marathons are not the sole savior to our economic woes, but if more banks focused on proactive events that drew in crowds and commerce, then maybe there would be some relief to that jobs crisis everyone is wound up about. It sometimes seems as if the main objective of banks is to keep up their image with press events, and although any and all charity is good charity. Events like marathons which often donate proceeds to a plethora of charities would be the bank killing two birds with one stone.

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  • Commonsense

    Shame on anyone and everyone who participated in the boa marathon. BOA is run by business criminals, they fund dirty coal plants making Chicago’s air even more unbreathable. Ironic, that runners breath the toxins BOA helps to create.