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EDC says area will benefit from FLW tournament visability
Fishing championship to be televised worldwide in December
The fan expo Sept. 13-15 at Walmart for the National Guard FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Championship drew some of the biggest crowds of any of the regional and national fishing events, said tourism director Jennifer Doss. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
By SAM JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
The Martinsville Henry County Economic Development Corp. is encouraged by the turnout, enthusiasm and buzz generated by Philpott Lake hosting the National Guard FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Championship on Sept. 13-15.
It also is hoping the success of the event is a harbinger of things to come.
Jennifer Doss, director of tourism for the EDC, said last week that she had received good feedback from FLW and the college competitors, which speaks well to Philpott’s capabilities as a host site. The success of the fishing tournament only can generate more interest in a repeat performance, she added.
“By getting an event of this caliber, it opens up awareness of how accommodating our area is and how convenient it is,” she said. “We’re within an hour’s drive of 60 percent of the nation’s population.”
Doss and the EDC issued a report Friday about the impact of hosting the college fishing tournament, one of five FLW hosts before its national championship. Though an exact dollar amount of the economic impact of the tournament is difficult to pin down, Doss asked each of the 40 college anglers to save their receipts from their local expenditures and turn them in to the EDC after the tournament.
Each participating angler — 12 total — then was entered into a drawing for a $250 gift card to Angler’s Choice in Martinsville. Angler’s Choice put up half the funds for the gift card, while the EDC matched the rest.
Ohio University’s Matt Tarr won the drawing, Doss said. “They were ecstatic,” she said. “They’ve already been in contact with Angler’s Choice.”
Though Tarr will have to shop online, she said, the point of the drawing was to encourage participants to shop locally.
Since the receipt-keeping also allowed the EDC to track where and how the students spent their money, Doss said the total expenditure of the 12 anglers during the weekend was $1,592.64, an average of $132.72 each.
Doss also said the EDC received confirmation of hotel room rentals from the 12 participating anglers as well as the 32-member FLW staff, which spent an average of $82.61 per day on lodging and expenses. Applying that average to the 58 total competitors in the high school and college tournaments, their families and FLW staff, the EDC report estimated a total expenditure of $49,566 on lodging, food and fuel.
The costs actually were lower than FLW expected, Doss said, because of lower prices in the area. “Our hotels are not as expensive as typical hotels where these events our held,” she said. “Us being a small town, it made it more affordable and accommodating for them.”
Greater than the economic impact, Doss said, was the potential impact from the media exposure from the event. Doss said FLW valued the media coverage of the event at $441,000 for the weekend. That figure was derived from FLW reports on its website and live video of each round, FLW magazine coverage and advertising, outside newspaper and digital media coverage, and the one-hour broadcast of the event Dec. 16 on NBC Sports Network. FLW’s website estimates the viewership of the broadcast will be 556 million people worldwide.
“The media participation of this is really going to put Martinsville and Philpott Lake on the map,” Doss said. “This is going to set up nicely for spring tourism. When it airs in December, I don’t think people will flock to the area that weekend, but they will plan ahead for spring trips.”
Before each round’s weigh-ins, FLW hosted a fan expo at Walmart in Martinsville, where the public could learn more about the program and interact with FLW sponsors. That has been a key aspect of the boom in college fishing’s popularity since the regional and national tournaments began in 2008, according to tournament director Kevin Hunt.
“We try to showcase their products at every one of these events, such as fan expo,” Hunt said. “We have so many positives going for FLW; it’s just the premiere program right now.”
The attendance and enthusiasm of the crowds at the Martinsville expo could be a boon for the community later, Doss said.
“We’ve heard they are exploring the possibility of coming back for other tournaments, even the (national) championship,” she said. “One thing that was mentioned by FLW that the expo had much larger attendance than they usually get.”
For now, Doss said the EDC has looked at other events and been talking with other sporting event planners. If other fishing tournaments or sporting events choose Martinsville and Henry County as a host site, Doss said the community support for the college fishing tournament will be a major factor.
“Everyone in the community has a lot to be proud of living here, because they left with a very good impression of our community,” she said.