The final tally is in for Sunday’s UConn victory parade in downtown Hartford: Exactly $90,000 raised from 23 corporate sponsors.
And that’s exactly how much the Hartford Downtown Improvement District, the organizing group, will spend, said Mike Zaleski, executive director. As of midday Monday the bills totaled $86,500.
The figure is up from $50,000 that Zaleski has set last Wednesday as a minimum needed to mount the celebration, and it’s up from the $70,000 that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced as the total early Friday morning.
The added dough enabled the organizers to rent a 20-foot video screen for the rally at the north steps of the state Capitol — for $13,475, delivered from a firm in Philadelphia.
Seems like a lot in an age when large-screen TV’s are dropping in price. But I was at the event with friends, and one said, “This has a big-time feel.”
And that’s the economic point. Forget the money the 200,000 visitors to the Capital City did or did not spend. That’s small stuff. What makes an economy move is an improvement in how people feel about a region.
This event, one of the few mass-happenings that was truly racially integrated, accomplished that, though it can’t be measured. And it was problem-free except for one guy who fell out of a tree in front of the Hartford Public Library.
Aside from the obvious double championship, part of what made up the “feel” of the parade was a larger event, with 51 marching and rolling units, up from 33 last year, and a shorter route than in the past.
Metro Hartford is an $80 billion-a-year ecosystem of commerce. We don’t have a lot of growth but we do have a lot of wealth. As we’ve learned, it’s not easy to convert that wealth into energy and positive feelings by the wide population.
In other words: Just as money doesn’t buy happiness, it doesn’t buy the sorts of good feelings that can lead to decisions by people and companies to spend in a region. That takes things like quickly organized parades that have a “big-time feel.”
Here’s the list of corporate sponsors who donated cash. It doesn’t include “in-kind” sponsors such as the Peter Pan bus company.
- Webster Bank
- Mohegan Sun
- The Travelers Companies, Inc.
- The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company
- Northeast Utilities
- United Technologies Corporation
- Virtus Investment Partners
- The Connecticut Buick and GMC Dealers
- Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
- Bank of America
- The Hartford Financial Services Group
- Capital Region Development Authority
- XL Center
- CBS Radio
- Rogo Distributors
- Peel Liqueur
- Robinson & Cole
- Foxwoods Resort Casino