$7.5 million.

That’s the estimate of how much money visitors to Missoula for the three FCS playoff games will spend while they’re here.

The Three FCS Home Playoff Games will Net Missoula over $7.5 Million in Revenue

University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research Director Patrick Barkey shared those numbers with KGVO News on Tuesday, after Montana’s dramatic overtime win against the Furman Paladins on Saturday, in addition to the ‘snowmageddon’ victory over the Delaware Blue Hens two weeks ago.

“It's really the people that come to Missoula because of the games that really adds to the economy,” began Dr. Barkey. “Based on our research, it looks like group sizes of three to four people spending typically at least two nights in Missoula, spending easily $200 a night. That's just a broad average that encompasses a lot of different variations, but it looks like about $2.5 million dollars of spending that takes place from people outside of Missoula in the Missoula community.”

Barkey said the Global Reach of ESPN will Bring Missoula to a Huge Audience

Barkey said as local coverage gives way to the global reach of ESPN, the impact on Missoula and the overall economy of Montana will continue to benefit.

“As you get up to the higher and higher rungs of the tournament, you're talking about greater and greater television exposure,” he said. “I think that's something that we shouldn't sneeze at, because I think the imagery and the excitement of the game in Montana as we know from looking at things like the television series Yellowstone is an area that has great visual appeal; in addition to the football and the mountain side as a backdrop and the cameras looking around the rest of the state. It's pretty good marketing, both for the university and for the state.”

Barkey said UM Itself will Reap the Benefits of This Exposure for Years to Come

It’s not just the UM Athletic Department and the football program that benefit from such worldwide exposure. Dr. Barkey said the University of Montana as a whole will reap the positive rewards from the home playoff games for years to come.

“In particular, I think this game since it is a university competition, so its also athletic competition between institutions of higher ed,” he said. “It has a connection with the recruiting to the school. It's a good thing that makes us look good because let's face it, we do look good, and letting people know that can be an effective inducement for people to at least learn more about what the university and Missoula are all about.”

The number 2 seed Montana Grizzlies will host perennial powerhouse North Dakota State Bison on Saturday afternoon in the national FCS semi-final game with kickoff at 2:30 p.m.

Remember the Last Time the Bison Played in Missoula? We Won 38-35

The last time the Bison played in Washington Grizzly Stadium was the first game of the 2015 season, when the Bob Stitt-led Grizzlies upset the Bison (who featured future NFL quarterback Carson Wentz) 38-35 after running back Joey Counts scored the go-ahead touchdown with only two seconds left in the game, sending the large contingent of North Dakota State fans home bitterly disappointed.

Listen to the game with the Voice of the Griz Riley Corcoran and color commentator Greg Sundberg on KGVO 1290 AM and 98.3 FM, and the free KGVO Mobile App.

Every Montana/Montana State Player in the NFL For 2023

Wondering where former Bobcat and Griz players are in the NFL? Here are all the players trying to make the NFL this preseason.

Gallery Credit: Will Gordon

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM