Scoring big, to the tune of about $1.2M

Iowa state softball tournament brings with it players, fans and a financial boost to FD

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen The Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex stands ready for the Iowa High School Girls State Softball Tournament. The tournament has an approximately $1.3 million direct economic impact on Fort Dodge.

When the first pitch is thrown Monday at the Iowa High School Girls State Softball Tournament, an event with an impact that extends beyond the interscholastic sports world will begin.

As teams compete at the Harlan & Hazel Rogers Sports Complex, their fans will be spending money in Fort Dodge. That spending is projected to provide a boost to the local economy worth millions of dollars.

Softball fans spend about $1.2 million on lodging, food and fuel during the week, according to Kerrie Kuiper, the executive director of the Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau.

That roughly $1.2 million circulates through the local economy and creates more benefits.

Ernie Goss, the MacAllister Chair and professor of economics at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, has done several economic impact studies for the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance and has calculated the multiplier effect of spending in the local economy.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen The state softball tournament takes place at the Harlan & Hazel Rogers Sports Complex.

For every $1 spent in Fort Dodge by someone from outside the community, 84 cents are created in other industries not directly related to lodging and restaurants, Goss said Friday during a telephone interview.

For instance, he said that if a family spends $200 a day on food and lodging during the tournament, $160 “spills over” into other industries.

He said, for example, that hotels hosting softball fans will pay their employees who will in turn spend that money on things such as groceries and rent.

The softball tournament also boosts the hotel-motel and local option sales tax revenue received by the city of Fort Dodge.

But Kuiper said it’s tough to quickly determine just how much of that tax revenue is attributable to the tournament because that money is collected by the state and given to the city on a quarterly basis.

Each year, between 17,000 and 20,000 people attend the tournament, according to Kuiper.

“A lot of them stay overnight during the tournament and we love to see that,” she said. “But just as valuable are the people who come in from the nearby communities who eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores. Those are very important folks as well.”

Goss said that a mix of local teams and those from farther away is the “ideal combination” for the best economic impact of the tournament. He said the local teams generate enthusiasm for the tournament while those from farther away draw fans who will stay overnight and spend more money.

He added that a high school sporting event like the tournament draws parents, siblings, grandparents, other relatives and friends.

That, he said, also boosts the economic impact of the tournament.


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