MB Carnival 01By Mercus Manley and Mahagony Sylvester, Investigative Reporters, assisted by Justin Peart….

It’s Carnival Time again!!!! This year is very special for MiamiBroward One Carnival because it commemorates 30 years since the Caribbean Carnival rooted in Trinidad and Tobago, branched into South Florida. No doubt it has grown over the years to be the biggest Caribbean celebration in South Florida bringing together mainly people from the Caribbean islands but also many others who just love the soca and calypso music or plainly love to party and lyme. According to the organizing committee, this year over 60,000 patrons are expected and based on figures provided, an estimated $40 million economic impact will be felt, meaning that each patron would directly or indirectly represent $670 revenue. But is this figure real? Let’s do the math!!.

The average pre-paid ticket price for the three main events – Panorama, Jouvert, and Final Parade/Concert  is $20. Most of the 60,000 patrons will go to the Final Parade/Concert, while the Jouvert and Panorama will receive their fair share of support, estimated at about 6000 persons each. Total estimated ticket revenue is: $1.44 million.MB Carnival 02

For serious “jumpers,” colorful costumes, mostly skimpy, some  more conservative, are essential and not cheap. The average costume this year is about $250. Estimating that about 5000 persons will be decked out in “official” costumes, the total cost would be $1.25 million.

There will be many vendors at the various events ensuring that the partying revelers have access to adequate food, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Assuming that each person spends and average of $15 on food, drink, desserts at each event, the total would be about $1.1 million. If half the number of attendees (36,000) spent $10 on CDs, souvenirs, and other non-food products, the total would be $360,000. 

During the three events, it is likely that there will be approximately 300 booths with rental rates ranging from about $200 for non-profit agencies to $2500 for corporate vendors. The vast majority will be food vendors will be food vendors, paying about $1,200. The estimate for booth rental is about $390,000. Vendors also invested in the displays, equipment, development of finished products and personnel to provide adequate customer service.  The average vendor could easily have spent about $1000 on preparation and delivery of products/services. The estimated total is about $300,000.

Popular AMB Carnival 06rtistes come at a high price, closer to the $20,000 – $30,000. There are also other low profile artistes, emcees, DJs and bands that need to be paid. The entertainment budget is likely to be in the $300,000 range.

There will be the rental/purchase of booth display equipment, party trucks and tents, media equipment, stage lighting, music equipment along with electrical technicians, hiring of emcees and DJs could easily amount to $150,000. Money spent on the rental of the various locations is estimated to be about $60,000.

Keeping patrons safe is a top priority of the organizers and everyone will likely be thoroughly searched before entering the festivities. There will be an estimated 100 uniformed police officers plus a number of private security personnel manning gates and keeping watch over the reveling crowd. The estimate for security is about $90,000.

Of the 60,000 patrons, let’s assume that 20% (12,0MB Carnival 0500) are from out of town. Some of them will stay with friends and relatives, others at hotels. Assuming that 50% (6000) of them stay at hotels costing on average about $120/night for 3 nights (double occupancy), capitalizing on the Columbus Day holiday, the total would be $1.1 million. Also benefiting indirectly from the large number of Carnival revelers are shopping malls, car rental agencies, and restaurants. Using car-rental rates of $50/day and assuming 3000 car rentals for 3 days, the estimated total is $450,000. There will be a lot of curry, roti, jerk and other food choices available at the weekend’s events but it is likely that individuals will also dine at alternative locations. Conservatively estimating 6 other meals at $12 each. The estimated twelve thousand out-of-town guests will spend $870,000. Also, it is difficult to find anyone who visits South Florida without capitalizing on our great shopping deals. In this case the estimate is $80/visitor on shopping, leading to a total $960,000.

There continues to be a good amount of Newspaper, Magazine, Radio, TV, Online advertising that is estimated to account for about $50,000. With Coca-Cola, Caribbean Airlines, Yellow Cab and many other sponsors paying between $5,000 and $50,000 to support the event, the estimate is about $500,000 for sponsorship.

MB Carnival 04It is also important to take into consideration a number of “side events” that smartly piggyback on the official Carnival celebrations, taking advantage of the captive audience to extend the party. These events are estimated to account for an additional $600,000 in potential revenue.

Summing it all up, this increasingly successful annual event conservatively contributes $10 million. Allowing for estimation errors of 12.5%, this leads to the proposed $8.75 – $11.25 million range. This figure though quite appreciable is only about 25% of the $40 million estimate provided on the official Miami Broward One Carnival website. We really hope that the additional $30 million will truly be somehow pumped into the economy as predicted. We definitely need it here in South Florida.

Congratulations to Board Chair Joan Hinkson, Ruthven Williams, Yvette Harris, John Beckford, Rafiek Mohammed and other members of the organizing team for taking on the mammoth task of organizing this 30th year Carnival celebration.

 (Please note that this is largely an independent calculation based on the observations of the South Florida Caribbean Business Magazine investigative research team.)