Jackson State head football coach Deion Sanders delivers a pep talk to his team shortly before the kick-off of their first game of the spring 2021 season. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

The financial impact of Jackson State University’s hiring of football coach Deion Sanders — and his team’s success — keeps rising.

Visit Jackson, the city’s official marketing organization, calculated an economic impact of over $30 million dollars for the Tigers’ 2021 fall football season. This is nearly double the sixteen million dollar impact of the 2019 season. 

The number is attributed to a record-breaking Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team average of 42,293 fans in attendance for the team’s home games. More than 50,000 fans packed the stadium during last week’s SWAC Championship game. Two weeks earlier, Jackson State’s matchup with in-state rival Alcorn State drew more than 60,000 fans.

The clout brought in by Sanders’ hiring and the team’s successful season has provided a boon to the city and local businesses.

“I’ve had some good days and I’ve had some bad days but right now, we cannot keep enough of JSU apparel in supply,” Richard Shaw, a 1977 graduate of JSU and owner of Dynastics Screen Printing, told Sports Illustrated. “With Deion [Sanders] coming here, I wish I could keep up with everything. But, my business has doubled and I thank God for it.”

The Jackson State football team’s fiscal impact on the city has been noted nationally.

“This program has to be, and is historically connected to the city,” C. Daryl Neely, a Jackson State graduate and donor, told the New York Times. “And when you get 60,000 people in the stands, that’s when you know you’re back to it being the program of the city.”

Over the nine days following the announcement of Sanders’ hiring, the Tigers’ athletic department’s marketing and promotional value increased by an estimated $19 million, JSU communications and marketing representatives told the Clarion Ledger. That value has certainly gone up over JSU’s successful season, where they won 11 games and their first SWAC championship since 2007.

Earlier this year, Sanders said that he hopes to expand the Tigers’ success and leverage it to help the city.

“I wish we could get to the point where 53,000 (fans in attendance) is the expectation week in and week out, ” Sanders said. “That affects the economy, that affects so much. Hotels are all packed, restaurants all packed, the shopping plaza all packed. For the state and city makes so much more revenue. Now we can have a ‘say so’ in where that’s distributed. Now, our roads are paved much better. The inner-city is looking much better because of what we’re bringing to the table… I just wish we can have consistency in these types of numbers, not just for Homecoming.”

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Take our 2023 reader survey

Will Stribling covered healthcare and breaking news for Mississippi Today.