Del Mar Fairgrounds/Racetrack


Del Mar, California


  • Development of online and in-person survey tools

  • Visitor and exhibitor intercept surveys at 5 major events at the fairgrounds/racetrack ƒ

  • Review and analysis of infrastructure and services ƒ

  • Fiscal revenues and expenditures allocation analysis ƒ

  • Calculation of net fiscal impact to the cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach ƒ

  • Development of alternative fiscal model scenarios


Johnson Consulting and Economic & Planning Systems were retained by the 22nd District Agricultural Association (22nd DAA) to provide a comprehensive economic and fiscal impact analysis of the Del Mar Fairgrounds/Racetrack. The 340-acre Del Mar Fairgrounds is situated on the waterfront in north coastal San Diego County and owned and operated by the 22nd DAA, a State agency. At the time of our study, the Fairgrounds hosted more than 300 events per year, including the County Fair and the popular Del Mar race meets, attracting more than 3 million visitors annually. The Fairgrounds was reported to generate an operating surplus from annual activities, and thus was a financially self-sustaining entity. With this level of activity, the economic and fiscal impacts of the Fairgrounds are substantial, but because the Fairgrounds is located partially in the City of Del Mar and partially in the City of San Diego and shares a boundary with the City of Solana Beach, the accrual of benefits across jurisdictions was not clear. Similarly, due to the spatial relationship of the Fairgrounds and the surrounding cities, the burden on infrastructure and public services to each jurisdiction attributable to Fairgrounds activities (e.g., public safety and public works) was also unclear.

The key focus of our study was identifying the costs and revenues generated by the Fairgrounds and how they were distributed to the cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach. In-person and online surveys of hundreds of event attendees, exhibitors, vendors, and promoters formed the basis of our economic and fiscal impact calculations.

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