Kalispell Public School Hosts Six Sports Finals in 2016 Boosting Our Local Economy
October's State AA Soccer Championships marks the final state championship event that Kalispell Public Schools hosted in 2016, bringing the grand total of sporting finals to six. Kalispell Public School’s willingness and ability to host these events brings out of town bodies to the Flathead and boosts the local economy by bringing parents, friends and fans to Kalispell.
“Any time you have people traveling to a region for an event, particularly the multiple day tournaments, there is a positive economic impact,” Kara Grau, Assistant Director of Economic Analysis for the University of Montana explained. Grau is part of the University of Montana Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR.) ITRR studies the effects of tourism in depth to better understand this important aspect of Montana’s economy.
These can be important dollars for the economy, particularly in the shoulder season. This past October, Flathead High School hosted the Montana High School State Championship Cross Country at Rebecca Farm brought 1,200 competitors to Kalispell, representing 100 schools from across the state. As a testimony to the sheer volume of spectators, fans were lined up three deep over a quarter of a mile stretch from the finish line and the large Rebecca Farm parking lot was filled to capacity.
The three-day state soccer championships (October 26- 29) hosted by Glacier High School at Kidsports Fields, brought AA teams from Billings, Helena and Bozeman to the region.
Tournaments and championships within Montana constitute what is called Resident Travel. In a 2012 study of resident travel by the ITRR, the total economic impact was calculated to be $833,150,000. The study broke out two kinds of resident travelers, day trip and overnight, the three items that day trip travelers spent money on were gasoline, followed by restaurants and bars and hotels; the top three items that overnight travelers spent money on were gasoline, hotels and restaurants and bars. In 2012, total overnight spending per traveler was estimated at $208. Total day trip spending in the area was estimated at $85 per traveler.
“It gives people the opportunity to spend money on food, lodging and other types of shopping,” Grau noted.
Kalispell Public Schools hosted four other championship events this past year Western B Basketball Divisional Championships, State Girl’s AA Softball Championships, Divisional Tennis Championships and the always popular Archie Roe Track and Field Invitational.
The Archie Roe Invitational brought some 850 athletes to the area.
“Schools are a part of the economic fabric of Kalispell and the region,” superintendent Mark Flatau noted, “And we are proud to host these events that showcase the talent of Montana and give a boost to our local economy.”