Golf tourney offers economic boost
STATELINE — Big money flies around during the American Century Championship that far exceeds the $600,000 purse for the golf tournament that ends Sunday.
The economic impact of the South Shore event has been estimated to surpass $7 million, according to a study conducted by Destination Marketing Association International. The visitor bureau association based in Washington, D.C., took into account lodging, meals, gaming and other activities, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority Executive Director Patrick Kaler indicated Tuesday. Some of the superstars of sports and entertainment have dropped wads of money at the tables.
Much of the action is concentrated in the casinos, but some businesses, such as restaurants, have reported picking up a residual increase in the number of customers.
And with Internet sales up from previous years, the tourism agency expects ticket sales to surpass last year’s 26,000 sold at the gate.
“I can tell they’re tourists because I’ve never seen them before,” Chevy’s Fresh Mex Manager Manny Ortega said. He reported a 2 to 3 percent increase in cash register receipts for the week of the celebrity golf tournament. Ortega has worked for the restaurant for 17 years and has seen many ups and downs in the local economy — especially since redevelopment efforts have taken hold near Stateline.
Beyond the dollars spent at the time of the event, the television coverage on NBC over the weekend, and ESPN on Friday, does the most in terms of generating more interest from prospective visitors. The idea is, if they’re not in Tahoe for the week, they’ll see it on television and come later. More than 6 million viewers are expected to watch the tournament.
And there’s no better time Kaler said, as the South Shore has endured a tough winter and an even rougher start of the summer with the devastating Angora fire threatening the tourism-based economy.