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Sports Tourism Brings Millions Into Lane County Economy

Jes Burns

Sports tourism is a big economic generator in Lane County - with fans staying at hotels, eating at restaurants and shopping at local retailers.  A new report estimates sporting events generated $32 million in 2013 - and that's not counting the economic impact of sports at the University of Oregon.

Travel Lane County says more than 200,000 people traveled to the area for sporting events last year, including things like races, volleyball and roller derby tournaments.  Janis Ross, Executive Director of Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports, says some smaller events pack a surprising economic punch.

Ross:  "These youth sports events, not only will you get the participants.  You get mom and dad and siblings, and in many cases grandmas and grandpas that will come to watch their junior high-schooler compete in a swim meet for example.  So those tournaments that happen week in, week out... those are our bread and butter."

Ross says Lane County's sports-related economic impact numbers likely more than triple when you add in events at the U of O, Lane Community College and Northwest Christian University.  Travel Lane County says 2013 was a banner year for another reason - Lane County secured *future sporting events that promise to bring in more than $126 million to the local economy.