Loudoun Economy Wins Big with Sports Tourism

By John Patterson

Loudoun hosts almost 20 sports tournaments each year—and the county wins with every game.

According to a new economic impact study by Visit Loudoun, the county’s tourism agency, and George Washington University’s School of Business, Loudoun’s economy scored $20.5 million from the amateur sports tourism industry last year alone.

That’s not all ticket revenue. According to the study, approximately 20,593 players and spectators traveled 50 or more miles for these tournaments last year. Of those, 96 percent stayed in hotels for an average of 3.21 nights. The data also says guests in each of these hotel rooms spent on average $226 at restaurants, retail and attractions during their stay. On top of the $20.5 million in sales, this business kicks $1.2 million in taxes straight into county coffers.

“Loudoun is … very accessible for national travel teams with Dulles International [Airport] located within the county,” Torye Hurst, Visit Loudoun’s national sports sales manager, said. “The addition of Metro service will only enhance the visitor’s experience.”

The study also shows that Visit Loudoun is attracting a lucrative demographic. More than half of the county’s visitors for sports tournaments had a household income above $100,000.

“This data is invaluable,” Visit Loudoun President and CEO Beth Erickson said in a press release. “The sports market is a growing and viable industry as families continue to travel for their children’s sports. The study confirms that our efforts in this market are on target and demonstrates that we are seeing a return on investment.”

The amateur sports tourism industry shows no signs of slowing in the 2017 season. This is the county’s primetime for tournaments, with fields and facilities booked every weekend until early August. This past weekend and the coming one, the Protect Our Nation’s Youth (PONY) softball tournament will be playing on 17 fields, with players and their families coming from more than six states. After that, the USSSA will hold its Class C National Championship July 26-30, and then USA Softball Eastern Nationals will take the fields Aug. 2-6. All these tournaments have players in age brackets ranging from 10 to 18 years old, which means parents who, when not sitting in the bleachers, will be contributing to Loudoun’s economy.

Liz Jurasek, a mother from Massachusetts, came down this weekend with her daughter, who is playing in the PONY softball tournament with her team, the Rhode Island Thunder.

“We’re staying at the Hampton Inn in Sterling,” she said. “We’ve done pizza delivery. We went to Buffalo Wing Factory. [Loudoun County] is very nice.”

John Patterson is an intern with Loudoun Now. He is studying English and economics at the University of Virginia.

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