Sports Tourism: Show Me The Money
$6.48 million in 2005.
That’s how much money was brought in to the local economy in my last city (Kingsport, TN) from hosting youth sports tournaments in just one year. That’s $12 million over 2 years, $30 million over 5 years. That’s a lot of new dollars.
In case you have any doubts of the economic power of sports tourism, the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) reports that every dollar spent to support a sports event produces $2.37 of new revenues in return, with an average expenditure of $150 spent per person per event in the host community.
In Kingsport sports tourism was an integral part of our overall economic and community development initiatives. I include the community reference on purpose because the facilities we built there were not just used for special events; they were used by all the local kids as well, so our kids got to compete on some top flight fields against some of the best student athletes in the nation, and a percentage of the proceeds from the tournament events also went directly back to support the local schools.
Here’s the breakdown on the Kingsport dollars in 2005:
Total Local Economic Impact from Sports Tourism (new dollars injected into local business) = $6.48 million
15-under/9th Grade Boys Basketball Championships had the biggest impact — $3,854,520
USSSA Baseball World Series: $1,585,733.
AAU Wrestling: $505,906.
USSSA Baseball NIT: $397,497.
NAIA Baseball: $137,317.
Event Sponsorship Dollars Produced for Local Schools in 2005 – $50,000
In Kingsport we built our own minor league baseball stadium, we issued a 1/4 cent regional tax increase to pay for a new hotel and conference center (visiting sports teams and families need a place to stay), we redeveloped the municipal golf course, we built two new sports complexes with multiple soccer and baseball fields at one site because that’s what the tournament officials look for — and as you can see from the numbers, when you add it all together, it really worked to bring new dollars into the Kingsport economy.
Obviously our ability to fund new facilities here in Kent is constrained but if you look around you’ll see some exceptional facilities already here on the Kent State campus, as well as Kent City schools and our own Parks and Recreation fields. I can’t help but wonder if we’ve been able to leverage all those facilities into a competitive sports tourism strategy.
The good news is KSU Athletic Director, Laing Kennedy, Kent Superintendent of City Schools, Dr. Marc Crail, and I are all committed to working together to make sure we do just that.