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Sports Tourism in Branson: A Second Look

The city is revisiting a study from an out-of-town consulting firm to decide whether to invest in athletic facilities.
We need empirical proof to show everybody, including the folks in the city who vote on these kind of things that we need to spend dollars, manpower and resources
BRANSON, Mo. -- City officials are revisiting a sports tourism study the Board of Aldermen commissioned earlier this year, after asking a consulting firm to make revisions.

The original study found that sporting events in Branson draw in families who go to sporting events like softball tournaments, triathlons, volleyball camps and other events in lieu of a short family vacation. But the travel radius the consultants used to determine the size of Branson's market was too small by the council's reckoning at the July council meeting.

On Monday night the consultants will again share their analysis.

Ross Summers, the director of the Branson Area Chamber of Commerce, has been working on ways to bring more events and larger venues to the area. The last few months have included top-tier events like youth World Series events for baseball and softball and a Revolution 3 triathlon. In the spring the chamber will help the city reel in an elite bass fishing tournament.

"Anecdotally we know we have the demand," Summers said, noting that the city was actually short on spaces like softball fields in the summer. "We need empirical proof to show everybody, including the folks in the city who vote on these kind of things that we need to spend dollars, manpower and resources."

The youth sports market brought more than $9 million in revenue in 2012. The combined visitors--the athletes and their families and friends--40 thousand. And a large chunk of them went to shows, rode go carts, and played mini golf at places like Greatest Adventures mini golf, owned by Scott Rowley.

"With the RecPlex sponsoring the sporting events and everything, it just helps us completely," Rowley remarked. "It brings a bunch of energy to the town. You can't deny that when you see a bunch of smiling kids running around it boosts you and it boosts everybody around you. "



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