For the people in charge of convention and tourism business in Onondaga County, it's called a major win. YNN's Bill Carey says it's the culmination of a long campaign to land a major bowling tournament for 2018.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It was a long campaign, but Syracuse, two years ago, won the right to host a National Women's Bowling Congress, which brought thousands of visitors to the city over several months. All the while, local leaders had an eye on another prize: The U.S. Bowling Congress' annual open tournament, involving both men and women. An event which had been held in Syracuse a number of times over the years.
The efforts in 2011 paid off in an announcement at the Oncenter's convention center.
“Today is the day we get to announce that the U.S. Bowling Conference has agreed to come back to Central New York for the open tournament in 2018. So we're very happy to have that,” said Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon.
The five year lead time for planning will make a difference. The tournament is likely to bring in more than 60,000 bowlers and 20,000 friends and family. Those are numbers local leaders are hoping they might be able to grow.
“Recruitment is going to be a big role for us in this. We want to make certain that we maximize the U.S. Bowling Congress attendance for this event. It's been since 2003, since this event will be on the East Coast. So we really want to say when you come back to the East Coast in 2018, we want it to be one of your best events ever,” said David Holder of the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The more visitors, the more money pumped into the local economy. A lesson learned at the women's tournament in 2011. But this tournament is even larger.
And the difference will be substantial. While the women's tournament generated about $40 million in economic activity, this tournament will produce about $70 million.
Government leaders say the money they will invest in the project will be more than repaid by sales taxes generated by the visitors, along with room taxes paid at local hotels. Among the donations they will make will be use of the entire convention center for several months.
“The time frame for this event will be from the end of December of 2017, where they will begin the build out, and it will run through the middle of, probably the middle of August of 2018,” said SMG Oncenter General Manager Kelly Carr.
The U.S. Bowling Congress expects to hire between 50 and 75 people locally to help stage the tournament.
The tournament will see more than half a million games bowled on lanes installed at the convention center. In all, bowlers will knock down an estimated 100 million pins.