A $113.2 million economic impact was generated in the Baton Rouge area by the 151-day U.S. Bowling Congress’ 2012 Open Championship Tournament that concluded last month, a study shows.
Of that amount, Baton Rouge-based SCI Research concluded that the 70,200 bowlers and their guests were responsible for $64.7 million in direct spending during the tournament.
The SCI study was commissioned by Visit Baton Rouge, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, and is slated to be reviewed at the organization’s regular monthly meeting on Thursday.
Mayor-President Kip Holden and Visit Baton Rouge President and CEO Paul Arrigo said in a news release that they are already in discussions with USBC officials about returning the men’s national tournament to Baton Rouge for a third time and also bringing the national women’s bowling tournament here. The SCI study was based on 1,056 interviews conducted with bowlers who participated in this year’s tournament.
In all, 58,704 USBC bowlers and 11,496 guests from around the country visited Baton Rouge for the national bowling tournament, which began Feb. 11 and ended July 10.
To help cover the expenses of bringing the 2012 tournament to Baton Rouge, USBC received $1.1 million in seed money from a partnership that included the city-parish, three neighboring visitor bureaus, two local casinos and the Baton Rouge chapter of the Louisiana Restaurant Association. The city-parish’s investment was $695,000, which was made over a five-year period.
The USBC previously held its tournament in Baton Rouge in 2005.
In its report, SCI Research noted that the $1.1 million investment provided by the local bowling partnership for this year’s tournament resulted in a 100-to-1 return.
“To get this type of return on our investment in today’s economy is phenomenal,” Holden said in a news release. “The bowling tournament made a tremendous impact on our restaurants, hotels and retail businesses, and we look forward to hosting other national events like this in the future.”
SCI Research’s breakdown of the economic impact of the tournament included $27.4 million to the food service industry; $35.6 million to the hotel/motel industry; $15.9 million to the retail industry; $14.9 million to the transportation industry; $12.1 million to the entertainment industry; and $6.7 million to the gambling industry.
The impact was reflected in newspaper comments from business people interviewed the day the tournament ended.
“It’s been extremely beneficial, revenue-wise, for the hotels,” Gary Jupiter, manager of Springhill Suites Baton Rouge North and president of the Baton Rouge Lodging Association, said last month. “Speaking of my hotel and speaking with other general managers, we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.”
Jupiter and others said guests weren’t just staying in hotels and eating in restaurants while they were bowling, but also visiting plantation homes with families and hitting local golf courses.
In all, SCI estimates that the 2012 USBC Tournament generated $3.49 million in sales taxes, including $1.15 million in Baton Rouge general sales and use taxes.
Arrigo had noted last month that retail spending based on city-parish sales tax collection figures were up 8 percent in February, 7 percent March and 9 percent in April from year-ago statistics and that tax collections from hotels were up 16 percent in February, 35 percent in March, 32 percent in April and 30 percent in May.
“Beyond the tremendous economic impact that the USBC Open Championships brought to the Baton Rouge area, we recognize over 70,000 ambassadors for the city that thoroughly enjoyed Baton Rouge,” Arrigo said in a statement Wednesday.
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