Sports Tourism Business

In 2005, parks and recreation operations manager Joel Dunn approached the Carson City, Nev., convention and visitors bureau with a proposal to boost sports tourism in the city.

In 2005, parks and recreation operations manager Joel Dunn approached the Carson City, Nev., convention and visitors bureau with a proposal to boost sports tourism in the city. "When we originally started the campaign, the intent was to bring in some additional tournaments so that we would reap the benefits of our concessions sales, " Dunn says. "We knew that if we could bring in a few more thousand dollars from concessions each year, we could offset some of the operational costs of our programs for our residents."

It paid off. The bureau's grant of $15, 000, which covered costs such as event staffing and facility operations, allowed Dunn to bring in 12, 000 visitors from outside of a 100-mile radius and more than $3.6 million in local spending. For the 2012-13 tournament season, the bureau has invested nearly $71, 000, and Dunn estimates that the campaign is on track to bring in $18.5 million to Carson City's economy.

Dunn has spent the past seven years attracting and growing tournaments in Carson City, as well as building support among businesses and residents. The local hotel industry was on board relatively early. "About halfway through this campaign we had one of our major lodging properties say that if it were not for sports tourism, they would have had an eight percent occupancy rate and more than likely would have had to shut their doors, " Dunn says.

From amateur youth tournaments to NCAA tournaments, communities are vying to land a piece of the largely recession-proof action. According to a 2012 report from the National Association of Sports Commissions, visitors spent more than $7.6 billion on sports travel in 2011, a 6.5 percent increase over the previous year. Most of that is spent locally on food, lodging and retail, providing a significant economic boost that's good for everyone in the community, including the parks and recreation department. Once seen as an intrusion into resources intended to serve the local community, sports tournaments are now embraced by many parks and recreation departments.

"What we're seeing is a gradual confluence of mutual interest, " says NASC executive director Don Schumacher. "Ten years ago, parks and recreation departments were very defensive when someone from a sports commission or convention and visitors bureau approached them about a tournament. But as departments have been under budgetary pressures, they have realized that if they can demonstrate that their facilities are valuable as a resource to attract visitors and spending, then they can be seen as part of the economic development engine in the community, instead of an expense line in the budget."

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Oil spill takes toll on tourism on Gulf Coast

2010-06-24 22:03:03 by God_Hates_-You

By Charisse Jones and Rick Jervis, USA TODAY
GRAND ISLE, La. — On this sliver of land, summer is high season. And on a typical weekend, Artie's Sports Bar would be crammed with more than 1,000 patrons peering at the ocean.
But this is no ordinary summer. The oil spill that has sent more than 90 million gallons of crude gushing into the Gulf of Mexico has seeped into the island's bayous, roughly 50 miles from the sunken rig that sparked the leak. And visitors aren't coming. Frankie Marullo, whose brother owns Artie's, says there have been only a few dozen customers a day

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