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January 2005
Fishing for Dollars: Bassmaster Classic Makes a Reel Impact on Charlotte

     Visit Charlotte, the Charlotte Convention & Visitors Bureau, has completed a visitor economic impact study of the 2004 Bassmaster Classic held in Charlotte at the end of July.

     Through the use of Charlotte’s Tourism Impact Model, the study sought to answer three questions of most interest to our destination: How many visitors did the Classic bring to Charlotte? How much spending is associated with these visitors? What does the Classic mean to our hospitality partners in terms of hotel room nights generated?

     In addressing these questions, the study revealed the following:

•The Bassmaster Classic brought 10,856 out-of-town spectators, BASS Outdoor Show exhibiting organization employees and BASS Inc. employees to our destination.

•Subsequent direct spending totaled $8,060,189.

•Total economic impact on Mecklenburg County resulting from the above visitor direct spending is $12,343,136.

•Bassmaster Classic visiting spectators, BASS Inc., and BASS Outdoor Show exhibitors combined to consume an estimated 16,063 hotel room nights during the course of the event.

     To run the Tourism Economic Impact model, direct spending associated with out-of-town spectators and exhibitors was measured via an attendee survey distributed at the Outdoor Show and by an exhibitor mail survey. It is this out-of-town or “new” direct spending associated with an event that is used to decipher total economic impact.

     The 2004 Bassmaster Classic attracted a total of 11,800 individual attendees and spectators to the Outdoor Show and to the Weigh-In. Of that total, 92 percent were out-of-town visitors, coming either for the day or overnight, while 8 percent were Mecklenburg County residents. An analysis of exhibiting organizations found 95 percent to be from out-of-town and 5 percent to be headquartered in Charlotte.

     Survey data shows that the average spending per stay for out-of-town spectators was $513.09 per person. Multiplied out to the 9,784 out-of-towners in attendance, the spectator direct economic impact of the 2004 Bassmaster Classic was $5,020,072. The survey also found that 71 percent of out-of- town visitors were overnight visitors and 29 percent of out-of-town visitors were day-trippers, so total dollars input into the model were apportioned accordingly.

     Exhibiting organization employees spent $1,529.96 per stay per person. Multiplying this spending by the 1,072 out-of-town exhibiting organization employees in Charlotte to staff the Outdoor Show, the direct out-of-town exhibiting organization employee spending was calculated to be $1,640,117. The event organizer, ESPN Outdoors, reported direct spending of $1,400,000 in Charlotte to stage this year’s Classic.

     The combined visiting spectator, exhibiting employee and event organizer direct spending of $8,060,189 was run through the City of Charlotte’s Tourism Economic Impact model to arrive at a total visitor economic output of $12,343,136.

     Through the Visit Charlotte attendee survey, the Visit Charlotte exhibitor survey and Visit Charlotte room night pick up reports, the hotel room consumption resulting from the 2004 Bassmaster Classic is estimated to be 16,063 total room nights.


Visitor Direct Spending

     The average spending per stay for visiting spectators was calculated to be $513.09, multiplied by the total number of out-of-town individual spectators (9,784), to arrive at direct visiting spectator spending

of $5,020,072.

     The average spending per stay for visiting exhibitor employees was calculated to be $1,529.96, multiplied by the total number of out-of-town exhibiting employees (1,072) to arrive at direct visiting exhibiting employee spending of $1,640,117.

     BASS, Inc. direct spending in Charlotte to organize and present this year’s Bassmaster Classic was reported by the client to be $1.4 million.

     The direct spending for visiting spectators, the direct spending for visiting exhibiting employees and the direct spending for the event organizer were run through the City of Charlotte’s Tourism Impact Model with total economic impact for each. Prior to hosting the Classic, Visit Charlotte had estimated direct spending to be $7.6 million. In actuality, direct spending to be just over $8 million, roughly 5 percent higher than anticipated.

     The visitation derived from hosting the 2004 Bassmaster Classic generated a total economic impact of $12,343,136 on Mecklenburg County. When booked, Visit Charlotte had anticipated an economic impact of $11.7 million resulting from the Classic. Again, the actual findings surpassed expectations by 5 percent.


Hotel Room Nights

     As important as the infusion of visitor dollars into our community from the 2004 Bassmaster Classic is the number of hotel rooms generated for our hospitality industry partners.

     Of the total number of out-of-town spectators (9,784), 29 percent were day travelers, leaving 6,947 out-of-town, overnight spectators. Of the out-of-town, overnight spectators, 84.5 percent (5,870) reported staying in hotels. The average number of occupants per room for hotel stays was 2.59, bringing the total number of hotel rooms used per day to 2,266 (5,870/2.59). The average length of stay for out-of-town, overnight spectators using hotels was 2.99 nights. By multiplying the average length of stay by the number of hotels rooms used per day (2.99 x 2,266), the estimated hotel room night total for Classic spectators totals 6,775.

     BASS Inc. blocked rooms at the Hilton Charlotte & Towers, the Renaissance Suites and Westin Charlotte totaling 4,515. Organizations included in this block are BASS, ESPN, and sponsors Citgo and Busch.

     Visit Charlotte surveyed the exhibitors at the Bassmaster Outdoor Show, finding that each organization consumed 30.6 hotel room nights on average (individuals x nights / occupants per room). The average was then extrapolated to the 156 out-of-town non BASS/Sponsor exhibiting organizations attending to arrive at a total estimated hotel room night utilization figure of 4,773.

     The 16,063 total room nights associated with this year’s Classic was 76 percent of the 21,029 that we had originally expected. The 21,029 room night estimate came from reports filed after the Birmingham event in 2002.

     According to trend reports purchased from Smith Travel Research, Charlotte area hotel performance statistics show a total of 57,137 room nights sold in the market for the main three days of the Bassmaster Classic (July 30 – August 1, 2004), an increase of 6,205 rooms or 12 percent from the previous year. Hotel occupancy over the three-day period was 62.7 percent, again a 12 percent increase from the 55.9 percent recorded over the same timeframe in 2003. Average daily rate, when compared to 2003, shows an improvement of 3 percent ($61.05 versus $59.31) during the Classic. Nearly 85 percent of the overnight visitors surveyed reported staying in hotels. These spectators, along with the staffs of the sponsoring and exhibiting companies present, contributed at least in part to up-ticks in these hotel performance measures.


Survey Methodology

     Random survey of spectators at BASS Outdoor Show from July 30th through August 1st, 2004. Mail survey of BASS Outdoor Show exhibiting organizations, sent August 12th, closed September 30th, 2004. Total of 545 completed spectator responses with a +/- 4 percent margin of error. Total of 50 completed exhibitor surveys corresponding to a 36 percent response rate.

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