SportsEvents Magazine

MAR 2018

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March 2018 42 the "mean" economic impact. The "mean" is significantly lower because of the skew caused by the multitude of lower-impact, single-day competitions. Cautious Optimism Two years ago, nearly 58 percent of event planners projected an increase in the economic impact of their events for the year ahead while 38 percent were cautiously expecting things to stay about the same. While the mood is still positive, the optimism is a bit more conservative in the current survey just two years later. Rising travel costs, the current challenges of growing the participant base and a perception that sports commissions are not working as aggressively for the sports dollar are the concerns cited most often from event rights holders. Yet nearly a third of the rights-holder respondents plan to run new events in the year ahead. "I believe mainstream sports will remain fairly robust and the majority of kids will play," Kidd said. "The play will continue to be a combination of recre- ation and pay-to-play (PTP). PTP gets so much attention because it is a significant economic market growth engine." Destination officials seemed much more optimistic in their outlook for sports in their communities. Most believe that the market will remain strong or at least maintain a steady growth pace for the foreseeable future. However, there is a concern that there is an "overbuilding" of new athletic facilities, while other frequently expressed industry concerns revolve around escalating demands on room rebates, lack of enough hotel rooms for the events they could possibly host and funding restraints that are holding them back. "The X factor will be how the economy reacts the next few years," Kidd said. "There has been a steady and continuous increase in the economy and in particular hotel ADR and occupancy. Additionally, markets across America are working with their local governments to expand and add new facilities to get their fair share of pay-to-play sports. It is only natural for a slowdown to occur. However, youth sports events have proven to be somewhat resistant to significant drops as most parents have shown that they will spend for their kids' opportunities during tougher times." The future of the sports events indus- try, Kidd believes, includes a combina- tion of pay-to-play and old-fashioned recreational play, in addition to a return to physical education with required par- ticipation, as a way to expose children to different sports and keep them active during school years. Regardless of how you size-up the sports events marketplace and the chal- lenges that always lie ahead, it's hard to argue the fact that the sports events industry remains strong with a depend- able outlook for stability and predictable expansion for the years ahead. n ONE CITY great COLUMBUS, GEORGIA P.O. Box 1519 | Columbus, GA 31902 706.660.1996 Columbus Aquatic Center Columbus Civic Center • Columbus Ice Rink Columbus Convention & Trade Center FOR EVERY SPORT A GREAT VENUE South Commons Softball Complex Cooper Creek Tennis Chattahoochee River Historic Golden Park Columbus State University Woodruff Farm Soccer Complex A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium RiverCenter for the Performing Arts Flat Rock Park PLUS SO MANY MORE VENUES t SPECIAL Feature

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