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Airbnb bookings generated $1.9 million in economic impact during college championship game

Airbnb reported $1.9 million in economic activity generated from rooms booked in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties for the College Football Playoff National Championship, making it the single biggest event for the online room booking and home sharing service in Tampa Bay.

The city of Tampa generated $1 million in economic impact due to Airbnb bookings, according to a press release Wednesday. Airbnb projects that Pinellas County bookings generated around $900,000 in additional economic activity for the area too, the release said. In the days leading up to the Jan. 9 showdown at Raymond James Stadium, St. Petersburg welcomed more than 760 guest arrivals through Airbnb. Airbnb hosts in St. Petersburg earned a combined $291,000 in supplemental income during this period. The travel company projects that football fans contributed $218,000 to the St. Petersburg economy based on the daily rate at which Airbnb visitors to St. Petersburg typically spend their disposable income with neighborhood merchants and restaurants.

Clearwater Airbnb hosts welcomed more than 650 football fans through Airbnb bookings. Hosts in Clearwater earned a combined $204,000 income from bookings related to the game. Airbnb projects that guests who stayed in Clearwater Airbnb accommodations contributed to an additional $195,000 to the Tampa Bay area economy.

The typical daily price of a Tampa Airbnb listing the days leading up to the big game was $100. In St. Petersburg, the average was $75 and $105 in Clearwater.

"Home sharing continues to drive significant economic development throughout Pinellas and Hillsborough," said Tom Martinelli, Airbnb Florida policy director, in a statement. "Our host community allowed thousands of additional people to authentically experience St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Tampa due prior to the game, often in neighborhoods that lack hotels and do not typically get access to tourist revenue."

Read more: Locals in Tampa Bay hoping to cash in on last minute football fans through Airbnb

The championship game was poised to be the biggest sports event to come to Tampa since the Super Bowl in 2009. Estimates showed that as many as 100,000 people visited the area just for the football game.

Big sporting events are a lucrative venture for Airbnb. During Super Bowl 50 last year, Airbnb guests generated $21 million in economic activity in San Francisco, according to a report from Airbnb. More than 15,000 guests stayed in Airbnb accommodations for the Super Bowl. Guests paid an average booking price of $225 per night, which was significantly less than most hotels in the area. San Francisco area hosts made up to $1,500 from bookings for the game.

Pinellas County was among the first in the state to sign an agreement with Airbnb , and collected $900,000 in additional tourism taxes through Airbnb bookings in 2016. The Hillsborough County Tax Collector's office signed a voluntary collection agreement with Airbnb last month to collect tourism development taxes and sales taxes on rooms booked through the service beginning Feb. 1. So while the county won't get an extra boost from the 700-plus Airbnb rentals listed in Tampa this month, Hillsborough County projects the deal will bring in an extra $250,000 in new annual tax revenue to Hillsborough County if bookings at least match 2016 levels.

Contact Justine Griffin at [email protected] Follow @SunBizGriffin.

St. Petersburg Airbnb Growth:

• 600 active hosts

• 22,000 Airbnb guest arrivals in 2016, reflecting 111 percent year-over-year growth

• Typical St. Petersburg host rents listing for five days per month, earns $5,200 a year in supplemental income

Clearwater Airbnb Growth:

300 active hosts

• 14,000 Airbnb guest arrivals in 2016, reflecting 131 percent year-over-year growth

• Typical Clearwater host rents listing for 4 days per month, earns $7,500 a year in supplemental income

Source: Airbnb

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