Amateur update: Visitor spending on sports events is still growing

The amateur sports world continues to be alive and well … and growing. With that, all cities hosting events continue to see an uptick in the visitor spending associated with these amateur sports tournaments.

Recent studies reflect an enormous $8.96 B (that's billion) dollars in amateur sports related visitor spending in 2014 — that's up 3 percent over the previous year. And with more cities focusing on the positive economic impact these events bring to their communities, the more cities are pursuing the opportunity of hosting tournaments.

In a way, cities are finding this as a self-perpetuating industry; as cities build sports facilities to attract out-of-town tournaments, those quality facilities become available to the local youth, which creates interest/involvement in sports and increases the number of athletes participating, thus growing the base and creating more tournaments.

Another similar study reflects that youth sports tournaments are a great marketing tool. Data showed that 60 percent of families playing in an area will end up returning to that city for a future vacation and a whopping 74 percent will recommend the city to others. In addition, the study showed that on average a visiting family will spend $985 on accommodations, restaurants, concessions and so on.

The National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine also reflects some interesting numbers. In 2000, the annual economic impact for out-of-state visitors was $30.2 2011 it topped $50 million. During that same time period, attendance at the NSC rose from 2.5 million to 4 million.


As we draw to the end of another year, Rochester again enjoys an increase in hotel room nights consumed by sports teams and families with a record 32,000-plus projected by year end. In addition, the unique visitors for various sporting events totals an estimated 115,000-plus. This reflects an economic impact from hosting amateur sporting events in 2015 to over $10 million in direct local spending.

Over the next few weeks, we will report on the specific sports that had the highest numbers in our city during the year. However, it is fair to say that due to the effort of many volunteers and event organizers, our city continues to enjoy the influx of sporting event visitors throughout the year.

And it is not only the economic impact that makes amateur scene so valuable. Sports Destination Management magazine says, "It is often cited that families will travel to attend tournaments and events to support their young athletes, frequently turning the trip into a mini-vacation. Finding quality 'family time' continues to be more and more important in American life, and we should expect this factor to increase in the future."

Amateur sports and the associated travel is healthy for the economics and marketing of the cities visited as well as healthy for the family life of those doing so.

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