Sports tourism is expected to have an economic impact of at least $25 million for Carson City this year, survey estimates show.
The survey, which Recreation Operations Manager Joel Dunn oversees and said are conservatively done, showed 28 tournaments in 2012 yielded $20.8 million in economic impact. They brought in 77,164 people from outside the area who spent money in the capital city, he said.
“It has turned into, absolutely, the largest economic engine in the community,” Dunn claimed. He said other sports-tourism analysts might inflate their estimates, but that he sticks to projections based on specific survey questions showing what participants spend on lodging, food, drink, entertainment and the like while in Carson City.
“I think we’re very conservative in how we approach this,” he said.
Dunn emphasized that sports tourism has grown since 2005. Then, the Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau put up $15,000 to help promote tournaments. The past two years, he said, the visitors bureau has been kicking in $70,600 as sports-tourism events have grown, attracting more participants and larger numbers of family members along with those players.
Over the past eight years, his report indicated, the combined economic impact was more than $98.3 million and the visitors bureau contributed $267,000 from its pool of lodging tax revenues to help defray expenses and keep the program both going and growing.
A good example among the softball, soccer and other tourneys, he said, is the “Midnight Madness” slow-pitch softball event over Memorial Day weekend. It begins May 24 this year. Last year, Dunn said, it brought in 130 teams — 116 of them from 100 miles or more away and six others from outside the area. There were 6,832 people from outside the area in attendance, he said.
“It’s almost the softball Woodstock,” he said, grinning at his own hyperbole. He said it cost $7,250 to put on last year and resulted in $2.3 million worth of economic impact.
Dunn wasn’t bashful about his hopes for this year. Though his projection is for $25 million in economic impact, he said it might prove higher. Last year’s result of nearly $21 million exceeded the 2012 projection he made, which was $17.5 million, he said.
Survey questions check folks’ spending on hotels/motels, food and beverages and entertainment, including gambling; plus other retail spending, such as for gasoline, supplies, equipment and souvenirs.
The 2012 report showed $12.7 million, or 61.5 percent, was associated with events at the JohnD Winters Centennial Sports Complex; $3.8 million, or 18.5 percent, with those at the Edmonds Sports Complex; $2.6 million, or 12.9 percent, with those at the Aquatic Facility; and nearly $1.5 million, or 7.1 percent, with those at Governors Field.