2018 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships provide multi-million dollar community impact

PITTSBURG - Student-athletes, local businesses and the area community all came away winners after 900 participants from 114 different schools came together earlier this month at the Robert W. Plaster Center on the campus of Pittsburg State University for the 2018 National Association of Intercollege Athletics (NAIA) Indoor Track and Field National Championships. An event impact summary received this week by the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) shows the NAIA Championships provided a $2,434,755 economic impact for the region.

“The CVB was excited to host an event of this magnitude,” said Devin Gorman, executive director. “With two pre-Championship events on Wednesday and the meet itself taking place over three days, we had athletes and fans staying for an extended period of time. The feedback we’ve received from the business community has been tremendous.”

Student-athletes, along with coaches, family members and friends all provided a visible energy in town throughout the week. Hotels and restaurants were full, many shelves at local stores were empty, and cash registers were busy. Wave after wave of customers led a number of restaurants to record nights in sales. One restaurant owner confirmed a wait time of over three hours during their primetime dinner rush on Friday night.

The event summary was developed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (based on numbers submitted by the CVB), and shows an overall economic impact for the event from both direct and indirect sales totaling $2,434,755, or $608,688 per day. With Pittsburg hotels being sold out months prior to the Championships, surrounding communities such as Joplin, Fort Scott and Parsons all saw direct benefits for the event as well.

“From the hotel perspective, we were happy to have our property full of students from across the U.S. and enjoyed the energy they brought with them to Pittsburg for nearly a consecutive three weeks,” said Ginger Cawley, sales manager of the Hampton Inn & Suites in Pittsburg. “The revenue generated by such major events as the NAIA and NCAA Division II Championships during the time-frame of the month of March was our highest grossing month to date, which not only stimulated our hotel and others, but also contributed to the entire economic stability and growth of the City of Pittsburg and the surrounding areas.”

Gorman also noted the variety of businesses, groups and individuals that contributed to ensuring athletes and visitors had memorable experiences.

“Hosting the Championships would not have been possible without such incredible community support,” said Gorman. “On behalf of the CVB and the community as a whole, we would like to personally thank the over 125 volunteers who graciously gave of their time. We had a wide assortment of community groups, businesses, schools and others who all provided assistance.”