Classic impact

Who wouldn't want the CITGO Bassmaster Classic on their home waters? The event brings in the best and brightest of the professional fishing world for a true test of the best, a no-holds-barred showdown of raw bassin' acumen and ability.

If you're a hotel owner, restaurateur or merchant, the benefits are huge. Along with 50 or so of the world's greatest anglers, the Bassmaster Classic brings tens of thousands of visitors and, with them, millions of dollars in spending.

But what are the real numbers, the actual counts for dollars spent, visitors drawn and rooms rented?

An economic impact study conducted by Visit Charlotte, the Charlotte Convention & Visitors' Bureau, asked these same questions about last year's Classic and came up with some interesting numbers.

The study concluded that the 2004 Classic brought in 11,800 spectators to Charlotte, 10,856 of which were out-of-town spectators or persons supervising the actual events.

The study data revealed that the average spending per stay for out-of-town spectators was $513.09 per person. That adds up to more than $5 million.

Visiting spectators, BASS staff, and Classic ESPN Outdoors Show exhibitors combined to rent an estimated 16,063 hotel room nights during the course of the event.

Exhibiting organization employees spent $1,529.96 per stay per person, more than $1.6 million total. In addition to that, ESPN and BASS reported direct spending of $1.4 million to stage the event.

The subsequent direct spending of the visitors totaled $8,060,189, and the total economic impact on Mecklenburg County resulting from the spending was $12,343,136.

The reason that out-of-town spending is so critical to communities like Charlotte becomes clear when you realize that spending by Charlotte residents within the city merely redistributes monies, while the infusion of funds from outside sources can dramatically increase the amount of funds within the community.

Any way you slice it, the Bassmaster Classic is a premier event with a great deal to offer area anglers and the community.