National Comedy Center all smiles for attendance figures

Nov 25, 2019

Officials at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown have big smiles on their faces, as they look over attendance figures for their first year.

One the the "greatest places" named by TIME magazine saw more than 66,044 visitors from 50 states and 18 countries. Add that to attendance at the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum for a total of 95,502.

Jamestown and Chautauqua County officials also are smiling, as they have seen all-time-high lodging and sales tax revenue. The Comedy Center said about 60% of out-of-town visitors stayed two or more days, while three-quarters ate an average of 2.6 meals at local restaurants. All told, they spent an average of $365 and indicated they would return again in the future.

Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco tours the National Comedy Center.
Credit National Comedy Center

“We are very pleased with our attendance to date, which is fully on track to deliver the economic impact projected. Better yet, 85% of our visitors report being ‘likely to return’,” said Executive Director Journey Gunderson.

“This is all working extremely well and driving a real and lasting impact on our local economy,” said Project Chairman Tom Benson. “We’re already seeing it pay out in sales tax revenue and hotel occupancy, and we are extremely optimistic about Year 2 and beyond.”

“The National Comedy Center has provided Chautauqua County with a completely unique and highly visible new attraction which is bringing in visitors on a year-round basis,” stated Andrew Nixon, President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau. “The Center is a key factor in the robust occupancy and tourism revenue numbers that Chautauqua County has experienced during 2019.