KNOXVILLE, Tenn., April 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Long considered the most important event in sportfishing, the Bassmaster Classic also has established itself as a huge economic boon for host communities, far exceeding economic impacts from every host city for the first weekend of March Madness, according to reports.
The 2019 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods generated an economic impact of $32.2 million for Knoxville and east Tennessee, according to a report released today by the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission, host of the 49th world championship.
The impact reflects a 34 percent increase over the $24 million recorded for Greenville and Anderson, S.C., in 2018. The Classic on Lake Hartwell, S.C., drew a record attendance of 143,000. That record was shattered March 15-17, when 153,800 were counted at the various Classic venues in Knoxville, according to officials at each of the locations.
"The 2019 Bassmaster Classic really blew us out of the water," said Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville. "The crowds, the enthusiasm, the economic impact were all but unprecedented."
According to the study, the Classic provided a direct economic impact of $17.7 million and an indirect boost in business sales of $14.5 million. The event is credited with generating $2.75 million in state and local tax revenue, including taxes on sales, restaurant purchases and lodging. Classic attendees, who traveled to Knoxville from almost every state and foreign countries as far away as Australia, Japan and Italy, paid for 29,232 room nights in local hotels, according to Visit Knoxville.
"From the first morning, when more than 5,500 fishing fans braved frigid temperatures to stand on the banks of the Tennessee River for the Classic takeoff ceremony, we knew this Classic would be special," said Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO. "From there, it just got bigger and better."
He noted that the Classic Outdoors Expo drew record attendance of more than 92,000 over the three days it was open, and a total of 26,000 attended weigh-ins at Thompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus.
Mark Ezell, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourism, attributes some of the success to the quality of bass fishing resources in his state.
"Fishing strengthens our economy and brings jobs to our citizens, and the Bassmaster Classic was the perfect opportunity to show visitors from across the globe why millions fish here each year," Ezell said.
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SOURCE B.A.S.S. LLC