Tahoe businesses won’t see major impact from ACC, but charities will | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe businesses won’t see major impact from ACC, but charities will

Demarcus Ware in good spirits before Friday's first round.
Mike Peron / Tahoe Daily Tribune

STATELINE, Nev. — The American Century Championship will look a little different this year, as will its impact on the community.

The weekend of the ACC normally fills up Lake Tahoe’s South Shore with spectators, volunteers, sponsors and of course, celebrities, but with the event being closed to the public, this year the town will be a lot quieter.

“The estimated economic impact of ACC is about $30 million and I would venture to guess most of that will be gone for this week,” said Carol Chaplin, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority President/CEO. “We know that some folks will travel hoping to get a glimpse of their favorite celebrities, but the tournament is taking every measure to keep the players, our visitors and residents safe.”

Lake Tahoe Airport manager Marks Gibbs said travel into the airport will likely be about 60% of normal because many of the people who fly in for the tournament, sponsors, dignitaries, etc. aren’t able to come this year.

There is a bright side. The NBC, American Century and the players have decided to give the entire purse of $600,000 to charities. The money will be split between the Equal Justice Initiative, COVID-19 relief, including the Notah Begay III Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy COVID-19 Response Fund, as well as regional Lake Tahoe nonprofits.

“In this time, when so many people in this country are hurting over racial division, the Equal Justice Initiative is a force for good focused on rectifying past wrongs,” said Jonathan Thomas, American Century president and CEO in a press release. “Also, we’re pleased to be committing tournament dollars to COVID relief and helping out our friends in Lake Tahoe, who have supported our tournament the past 31 years.”

The local nonprofits will be chosen after the tournament through a grant application process set up by LTVA and the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority.

Since 2009, more than $1.25 million in donations have been distributed to more than 80 local nonprofits to assist 11,500-plus individuals

Chaplin doesn’t think it’s a total loss for the community.

“There are 18 hours of national air time with NBC and the Golf Channel this year, which is ‘priceless’ to us in terms of impressions and exposure across the country,” Chaplin said.

“We’re sending the message, ‘we’re coming back from COVID-19 and we’re doing it properly,” said Phil Weidinger, public relations director for the ACC.

Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has also been giving Lake Tahoe some love.

“I want to give a shoutout to Lake Tahoe,” Barkley said in an ACC telephone conference. “I know they’ve had a difficult time. And even though fans can’t come to the golf course, I really hope they come up and put some money into the city.”

Barkley also urged people to support the casinos, all of which are sponsors of the event.

“… I hope the people in this area come to Lake Tahoe and support the casinos, because it’s been a really difficult time for casinos,” Barkley said. “There’s a lot of people that work in these places, in the bars and restaurants and waitresses and on the floors.”

Chaplin also said that just the fact that the tournament is still happening is a testament to the strong relationships the community has built and how beloved the tournament is.

“All of the partners involved with ACC are making this happen without financial gain,” Chaplin said. “As we all continue to reel from the impacts of COVID, this event is an unprecedented demonstration of passion, commitment and collaboration.”

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