Modern Pentathlon World Cup Final brings $1.9 million in economic impact to Sarasota-Manatee

srocco@bradenton.comJuly 10, 2014 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- The 2014 Modern Pentathlon, held last month at the Sarasota Polo Club and Selby Aquatic Center, brought nearly $1.9 million to the region, officials have calculated.

The pentathlon was a first-time event for Sarasota-Manatee.

"We knew the value of the event being here in regards to the international marketing value, but people coming to stay and that kind of stuff, we weren't sure," said Nicole Rissler, director of sports for the Sarasota County Sports Commission.

The report, compiled by Visit Sarasota County, takes into account the number of days visitors stayed in the region, the amount of money spent by event organizers and the number of spectators, among other elements.

Total hotel impact for the three-day event was $124,440, with the average room rate at $136 per night, according to the report. Nearly 750 out-of-state and international visitors attended the event, and about 3,500 unique spectators turned out from June 5-8.

Judy Athari, director of sales for Buffalo Lodging, which oversees the Marriott Courtyard and the Hampton Inn hotels in University Park, said the Courtyard, one of the pentathlon's host hotels, was packed with athletes.

"We were thrilled to be a part of it," she said. "We met Olympians from all over the world, so that was really fun."

Athari expects an even larger turnout for upcoming pentathlon events. Sarasota-Manatee will host the 2015 Modern Pentathlon World Cup first round, the 2015 U.S.

Olympic Team Trials and the 2016 Modern Pentathlon World Cup Finals.

"This event was smaller than some of the upcoming events will be because it was a final, so it didn't have the impact with accommodations as much as future ones will," she said.

The pentathlon, spearheaded by former congresswoman Katherine Harris and Sarasota-Bradenton Pentathlon, the local organizing committee, cost organizers $260,293. Calls to Harris were not returned Wednesday.

"There's times when we don't have the budget to do marketing in multiple countries, but with us winning and having international sporting events, we're getting that marketing exposure internationally that we could never have bought," Rissler said.

Visit Sarasota County has been using the same economic impact calculator designed by the Florida Sports Foundation for over 10 years.

Sabrina Rocco, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @sabrinarocco.

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