Sunday, May 3, 2009

$?$?$?$?$ What is the local economic impact of ONE BIG MEET?

Okay, big question in the community - what exactly will this big Aquatics/Wellness Center do for Bismarck? What's in it for us?

Besides the obvious - additional aquatics space, indoor playground, multiple swimming lesson/team opportunities, etc.... there is the opportunity for economic stimulus. With the amount of pool space, there lies the opportunity for BIG SWIM MEETS. Okay, swimming may not sound like the most exciting of sports, but for families involved in competitive swimming, there is nothing like the electricity of watching a superclose race in a big Zone or National meet (or remember the US relays last year at the Olympics???).

Slated already on the schedule for the new Aquatics center are local swim club meets and potential high school championship meets, which bring in local talent, and fill local hotel rooms and restaurants - not to mention the mall! However, larger meets such as Zone meets will bring in swimmers from across a multi-state region for nearly an entire week! "Zones" is like a mini-Nationals for age-group swimmers - The country is divided into a number of zones, each of which host their own meet each summer for the super-fast swimmers with qualifying times. North Dakota is in the Central Zone (see , which consists of 15 states - generally divided into 2 different zone meets. Bottom line: one zone meet would bring zealous swimmers and parents from 8 different states to Bismarck!

Just how much money would one zone meet bring to the Bismarck economy? Okay, this is not scientific in the least, since the latest info I could find online about how much to expect per swimmer was dated in 1992... So, I figured all this based on what I would do as a swimmer's parent and family - like shopping, eating out, eating concessions, and hotel rooms.

Here goes: figured as if Bismarck were hosting the 2009 zone meet (which we are NOT - it's in Grand Forks). They expect approximately 800 swimmers for a 5-day meet. I divided it out as such:

Hotels: median hotel room cost (based on for nights of Aug 5-10) in Bismarck was right at $100/night. Multiply by 5 nights x 800 swimmers: $400,000

Meals out: figuring a 3-person familiy for each of the 800 swimmers (may be more like 4-5 spectators per swimmer) at $10 per person per meal (some will cost more, other families will likely be frugal and grocery shop - this is the average of that!) - figuring they will eat out 2x per day (3rd meal and snacks probably at concession stand)
total: $10/person/meal x 2 meals/day = $60/family/day x 800 swimmers x 5 days: $240,000

Souvenirs (t-shirts/towels, etc...): Figuring at $12 per t-shirt (2009 state ND swim meet price) at 1200 t-shirts (figuring half the parents will buy one) and probably $20 on caps/towels per swimmer
total: $12 x 1200 (t-shirts) + $20 x 800 = $30,400

Concessions: proceeds of which will go to host swim team/facility, prices based on 2009 state swim meet concession prices:
Taco in a bag $3.50, hot dog $1.50, pizza slice $2.50 - so average lunch $2.50 per person
Drinks: 2 per day at $1.50/beverage
Muffins/snacks: 2 per day at $0.50 each
Per person total: $2.50 + $3 + $1: $6.50 x (800 swimmers x 3 people/swimmer) x 5 days = $78,000

Programs: $5 each x 800 = $4000

Shopping locally: Figure $200 per swimmer/family of local shopping over the week (more for the unfortunate few who forget their swimsuit or other necessities!)
total: $200 x 800 swimmers: $160,000

Gas: Figure 2 tanks (one for arrival, one for departure) per family at $35/tank
total: $70 x 800 = $56,000

Not to mention pool rental fees, lifeguard/official fees, sponsorship for meet, airline fees (for some), entertainment (i.e. movies), and patronizing other local venues!!!

My total for 800 swimmers in Bismarck for one single 5-day meet is (drum roll please!!!)...
$968,400 or pretty darn close to a million bucks!!!

With this facility, the probability exists for at LEAST one meet such as this per year, with the possibility more like 2 or 3 per year. Think Zones, paralympic events (which include Canada - we're the perfect spot!), olympic training events (yes, they try to farm those out since Colorado Springs can only host so many people!), large diving events, ETC....

Question answered: is this good for Bismarck??? YES.

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