Our Adirondack Sports Driven Economy

Today’s post was originally supposed to be about the plethora of events we are hosting in the Adirondacks this weekend. I realized, however, I have been meaning to discuss the importance of sports to the Adirondack economy. Sports plays an integral role in the health and wellness of our economy. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will have already noticed there is some sort of sporting event happening most every weekend. This weekend, for example, Lake Placid hosts a Youth Hockey Tournament. These youth and adult camps and tournament have been coming to Lake Placid for more than a decade. Hockey is likely one of the biggest contributors to the Lake Placid/Adirondack economy. This topic interests me because, a long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away, I served as ED of the Adirondack Sports Commission. It was my job to attract and assess sporting events, and market the Adirondack Region specifically as a sports destination. There was even some talk of us hosting another Olympic Winter Games. We were talking about partnering with Montreal to host the first ever “Cross-border Olympic Games.” The Sports Commish was also the organization that attracted and then established the Ironman Lake Placid Triathlon in 1999. Nine years later, the Ironman event contributes at least $8 million annually to the local economy. That is a conservative estimate, and is a huge boon for our region. Last week, we hosted the FIS VISA Snowboard World Cup, which will be aired on NBC and Versus this weekend. This kind of media exposure for the area helps reinforce our brand as a sports destination. The economy benefits from the interesting mix of participatory sports patrons and spectators. The Lake Placid Horse Show for example, attracts some of the world’s top equestrian athletes, which of course attracts healthy numbers of spectators and visitors. The Horse Show, by the way, is a beautiful sight to see. The Horse Show Grounds are laid out before a stunning mountain range, which features Whiteface front and center. The grounds are meticulously maintained and sport huge, green and white striped tents. It is an awesome vignette to ride by on the bike or in the car for six weeks each summer. Clearly, I believe sports contribute much more than dollars to those of us who live or own property here, but it is important to mention the economic impact as well.

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