Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Amateur Sport Niche

One of my favorite agurbs®, that I use in virtually every talk I do, is Columbus, IN. Their development of a vision as an architectural mecca is one that is very unique, but not something that everyone can do. Here is a new one that they are carving out that every town could do…..An Amateur Sport Center.

In 2005, Columbus hosted 35 amateur sports events, which drew over 30,000 athletes and spectators, generating almost $10 million in estimated revenue into the community. This year, they’ve increased that number to 67 events.

In the ten day period from July 21 to 30, Columbus is hosting five simultaneous and concurrent youth sports events, in softball, swimming and tennis.

Nearby Indianapolis has led the way in focusing upon NCAA events. This year’s NCAA basketball championships were held there and several of our Team Agracel were there with other site selectors. It was a wonderful time for Indy to showcase their many attributes. That one event was estimated to have a $40 million impact upon the local economy. The impact of the NCAA relocating to Indianapolis in 1999 is estimated at $629 million.

My own town is in the midst of a study to do an $8 million multi-sport complex. The impact could be tremendous.

Why don’t you look at this niche for your town?


Anonymous said...

Where does that financial impact really go? It seems that the hospitality industry (the largest beneficiary of the tourist dollar) is built on a foundation of lower-wage jobs.

I'm not saying that sports are bad, or that tourism is bad...but would a community's monies not be better spent on technology infrastructure improvements or amenities that serve to improve the residential quality of life?

BoomtownUSA said...

The financial impact of having a number of people staying in your town for several days is definitely felt by the tourism sector (hotels, restaurants, etc.) but is also felt by other sectors of the economy. People shop, have cars repaired, tour museums, etc.

Perhaps the biggest impact could be the ability to showcase your community for someone who is going to make an investment in the town or look at moving to the community. It is the reason that towns, cities and states make such a push for major events like Political Conventions, Olympics, Final Four, Super Bowls and others. If you visit Indianapolis, you will quickly see the impact that becoming the headquarters of the NCAA and its associated benefits have had on that city.

Economic Development is not just about infrastructure and incentives. Increasing in importance are quality of life issues that can revolve around sports, arts, recreational pursuits and other amenities. The communities that will succeed in the future are those that are raising the bar on the quality of life in their town, while focused upon improved jobs and opportunities.

Anonymous said...

When the big NSA softball tournaments come to East Peoria's Eastside Center, we see folks everywhere . . .out and about. It's a positive thing, regionally.

southerndawg said...

The monies used to construct the Sports Center in Effingham are from motel/hotel tax and must be used for tourism and not tech infrastructure.

The more people stay in Effingham the more tax dollars gained. Which results in a sports complex which results in more tax revenue which results in etc, etc, etc....

Sounds like a great idea, and it has my full support.

BoomtownUSA said...

I agree with you completely about the proposed Sports Complex in my hometown of Effingham, IL. This new facility would be built with the motel tax funds and has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life in the community.

It is a "no brainer" for the town to develop the project.

Mark Stober said...

It's possible to explore this niche without making a big investment in facilities, if our experience in Huntington, Ind. is any indication. At an old stone quarry we have small hydroplane races and a distance swim. A 2-day bicycle race goes along county roads. Our nearby reservoir, which has a mountain bike trail surrounding it, hosts various foot and bike races. We had the state wrestling tournament in the high school, which filled the hotels for miles around. The only new facility is a baseball complex which is attracting tournament interest. All of these attract visitors. So for some communities, maybe it's a matter of being creative with existing resources.

southerndawg said...

Good ideas, Mark.

One of Effingham's "natural" resource is 30,000 vehicles passing through every day on I-57/70. Community leaders are trying to get those who just pass by to actually stop and stay for a while.

Effingham is also trying to implement ideas such as bike paths that connect some area communitites.

Working on some low cost projects could be an area that needs closer scrutiny.

BoomtownUSA said...

Both of you make some great points. I'm out in rural KS for a couple of days on a VERY slow connection that keeps fading in and out. Obviously this subject is of great interest to a number of you and I'll try to write more on it this weekend when I get a bit of time.