$27.3 million. That's the local economic impact the Ragin' Cajuns football program had in 2013, according to independent analysis recently completely by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA) in conjunction with Vermilion Marketing & Opinion Research LLC.

That's an average of $5.46 million per home game last season (five home games in 2013).

Of that $27.3 million, $7.6 million is attributed to wages paid to area residents. According to the study, this means the program supported 241 jobs and also contributed almost $17.2 million to the Acadiana Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“We are proud to be a part of the incredible culture here in Acadiana and happy to provide a positive economic effect on the community,” says Scott Farmer, the University’s Director of Athletics. “The successes our teams are currently enjoying combined with future facility expansion mean that impact and exposure to our great community will only continue to grow.”

And with the current stadium expansion, which will increase capacity from 31,000 to about 38,000 for the 2014 season, and over time will expand to more than 60,000, as outlined in the Athletics Department Facilities Master Plan, the economic numbers have the potential to double once that capacity goal is reached.

Then, there is spectator spending in Acadiana, which totaled $11.1 million for the 2013 season. The economic impact of that spending equated to $17 million. For every dollar spent directly by spectators, another 54 cents is generated and put into the local economy.

“UL Lafayette, with its established academic reputation and its athletic program success, is one of LEDA’s key allies in our economic development efforts in Lafayette and Acadiana,” says Gregg Gothreaux, President and CEO of LEDA. “The University plays an integral role in attracting businesses and people to the region and its athletic program is an important part of the region’s entertainment industry. Having access to the University’s sporting events is a quality of life benefit the community needs to leverage to attract and keep young professionals in the region. UL Lafayette’s football program, not only contributes to the region’s quality of life, but to the whole economy.”

The analysis was paid for by MidSouth Bank and completed for the University of Louisiana Athletics Department.

“MidSouth Bank has long had a terrific relationship with both LEDA and UL, and we were glad to fund this critical independent study, which gives everyone real insight into the kind of impact a single sport can have on the local economy,” says Rusty Cloutier, President and CEO of MidSouth Bank. “This study is very important to the future of the University’s Athletics Department.”