The fourth season for the MSU Riley Center kicks off Thursday night. Officials say the center is expected to make more of an economic impact than ever.
The opening night concert features the legendary BB King. The center means a lot of money for the local economy.
According to MSU Riley Center officials, the shows at the theatre are major money makers for the are.
"A general rule of thumb is for every $1 you invest for tourism, you get $12 back in tax revenues," said MSU Riley Center marketing director, Penny Kemp.
That money comes from hotel rooms, food and gas purchases. Riley Center officials say the economic impact of the shows is so significant because much of it comes from people who otherwise might not travel to the area.
"When we first started our season, we attracted 10% to 15% of the audience from a 100 mile radius or further. Now that audience has grown to more like a third of the audience," said Kemp.
According to Kemp, early indications show that the number of people from other areas coming in for shows will only continue to grow.
"We have conferences wanting to book around our shows," Kemp said. "They find out we have major performances in the spring and they want to book their group of 300 or 400 to meet here and attend the show while they're here. So, all of that has a tremendous impact on the local economy."
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