East Tennessee arts and cultural nonprofits are good business, a national survey found. They generate an annual $145.9 million in economic activity and as much local and state tax revenue as University of Tennessee home football games.

Those are among the results of Arts and Economic Prosperity 5, a national survey that measured the economic impact of 60 nonprofit arts groups in Knox, Blount and Anderson counties. For-profit arts and individual artists weren't included in the study, which also measured arts’ effect in Tennessee and the United States.

Nonprofit arts and culture is a $145.9 million “significant industry” in what the survey calls the "Greater Knoxville region." Money spent by organizations and their audiences supports the equivalent of 5,503 full-time jobs and delivers $18.6 million in local and state government revenue. 

That $18.6 million in government revenue, defined as taxes plus licensing and other fees, is a touchdown for the arts. It’s the same amount generated by all UT home football games, said Arts and Cultural Alliance Executive Director Liza Zenni. She referenced a 2016 report done for the UT athletic department that showed the $18.6 million football revenue number. 

Read more from our news partners at the Knoxville News Sentinel.