Our view: The business of ballgames
June 21, 2006
You couldn’t get a seat in a restaurant. Gasoline station parking lots were packed. Short of an advanced reservation, a hotel room couldn’t be had.
From June to August, Craig is flooded with outsiders. But we’re not complaining. Far from it.
Here’s the reason why: With that influx of out-of-towners comes a jolt of out-of-town dollars.
A busy city means big bucks for the business community. That’s what the Triple Crown Sports have brought to Craig, Hayden and Steamboat Springs this summer. In fact, it’s done just that for the last 23 years.
A brief history: Triple Crown began about two decades ago as an adult slowpitch softball tournament. It has since expanded in size with the speed of a Major League hitter on the clear and the cream. Players and families from across the country now descend in mass on the Yampa Valley, using local fields to compete for national championships.
They also use local stores, hotels and restaurants while they’re here.
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We should be glad to have them.
An exact economic analysis of the Triple Crown’s impact on the local economy has never been conducted. However, if a survey designed to measure the effects in nearby Steamboat are remotely similar to that felt in Craig, the numbers are significant.
That survey indicated that each person associated with the Triple Crown softball and baseball tournaments — players, coaches, parents and friends — spends about $70 per day. Multiply that number by the estimated thousands of people that visit the region each summer, and you’ve got a significant boost to the local economy.
But, a question that begs to be asked is how long will this gravy train last? Without significant incentives offered to keep the games here, can it last?
Those are odds Pete Rose wouldn’t flirt with. So, why take the chance? Why not take proactive steps now to cement the tournament’s rightful place here in Craig?
It is the contention of this panel that enticements need to be made to lock down the Triple Crown for years to come.
It is conceivable that a tournament exodus from the city could lead to leaner times for our local businesses. And that means tougher times for us, the consumers.
In today’s business climate, times are more difficult than ever for the small-business owner.
Maybe Kmart, McDonald’s or another of the city’s corporate giant chain stores can absorb the loss of revenue a Triple Crown departure would represent. In fact, given the vast expansion of these two stores — used here only as examples — across the country, they could more than survive such a revenue loss.
They’re not our concern.
Protecting the family-owned, mom-and-pop shop down the way is our focus. In small town America, these stores are the lifeblood of the economy. Each benefit, short of giving away so much that it would be contrary to the common good, should be offered to them.
One way we can do that is by providing events like Triple Crown with the things they need.
That means more ball fields that not only the players will benefit from, but in the long-term, our children will as well.
That means aggressive incentive packages for the businesses that would capitalize off Triple Crown: hotels, restaurants and department stores.
An aside to this argument is this: The Triple Crown folks are good people. An observer of the games told editorial board members recently of the positive impression players and coaches made on him. Sportsmanship, quality play and kindness — traits seemingly lost on today’s sporting public — are highlights at any given Triple Crown contest.
So, there it is. Good people bringing in decent money. Why risk losing that?
If Craig and Moffat County don’t get in the game, soon someone else will capitalize.
It’s only a matter of time.