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Oscar injects $61 mil into L.A. economy

Spending up slightly from last year

Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony and the surrounding flurry of get-togethers will inject an estimated $60.5 million in spending into the Los Angeles area, a pair of tracking agencies have calculated.

“The Oscars are a major shot in the arm to the local economy, in addition to the attention and prestige the event brings,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist with the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. “It’s a unique event.”

Kyser’s agency and the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau issued the estimate, which is about double the level of economic activity generated by last month’s Grammy Awards.

About 45% of the spending will be generated by activities tied directly to the 72nd Academy Awards, such as advertising, clothing purchases and limo rentals. Another 25% will be spent on the plethora of parties scheduled before and after the event.

The remaining 30% is tied to the costs of travel and lodging for those coming from outside Southern California.

Kyser noted that many leading fashion designers spend avidly in connection with the Oscar ceremonies with the specific goal of persuading key actresses to wear their gowns. “Some of the more prominent houses will book several suites at hotels in Beverly Hills for several weeks,” he noted.

Kyser said this year’s estimate crept up only slightly from the $60 million in economic activity generated by last year’s ceremonies, but added that the figure could rise significantly in two years with the expected move of the show to the 3,300-seat Premiere Theater in Hollywood. Site is under construction at Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard as part of a $430 million TrizecHahn complex that will also contain retail and entertainment outlets as well as a hotel.

“We could see a real spending bump coming in 2002 since the new center will be right in the middle of Hollywood,” Kyser said.

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