Impact of Sports
A passion for sports has increasingly set the Charlotte market apart from other destinations nationwide. The city’s concentration of professional, amateur and major sporting events keep the city busy more than 200 days and nights a year, making the Queen City a sports enthusiast’s dream destination.
The Charlotte Hornets (NBA), Carolina Panthers (NFL), Charlotte Checkers (AHL), Charlotte Knights (AAA Baseball), Charlotte Hounds (MLL) and Charlotte Independence (USL) all have a home in Charlotte. In addition, more than 90 percent of NASCAR premier series racing teams all call the region home along with three major NASCAR races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Professional sporting events don’t end there. International CONCACAF and Champions Cup soccer matches at Bank of America Stadium, the Wells Fargo Championship, PGA Championship in 2017 and the NBA All-Star Game in 2017 have selected Charlotte to play host, creating valuable exposure opportunities for the city that garner national and international viewership and media attention. Collegiate events are a proven draw for Charlotte and economic generator as well. Major events span the ACC Football Championship, Belk Bowl, CIAA Men’s & Women’s Basketball Tournament and more.
The CRVA continues to support the recruitment and hosting of these events because they consistently produce sizable economic impact and are a sound return on investment for the Charlotte community. Visitor spending from these events benefit the businesses in our community that wouldn’t experience that impact otherwise when fans stay in hotels, dine in restaurants, utilize various services, visit attractions and much more, ultimately creating valuable tax revenue for the city. In addition, these events also generate impact based on the new spending that occurs by this direct spending in other industries, creating a powerful trickle-down effect that helps the entire community.
Spending that supports the visitor economy continues to be a vital catalyst in ensuring Charlotte is an attractive place to live, work, play and visit. Tourism and hospitality generates approximately $4.6 billion annually in Mecklenburg County. In turn, this visitor spending has supported major events that also generate economic impact as well as the creation of some of Charlotte’s most notable assets including, but not limited to, BB&T Ballpark, Levine Center for the Arts, Bank of America Stadium, Time Warner Cable Arena and so much more.
Along with major events such as these, amateur sports continues to be an economic catalyst for the region and makes up more than half of Visit Charlotte’s room night production. There have been 552 events, utilizing more than 730,000 rooms and bringing more than 2.5 million people to Charlotte over the past 3.5 years. Under the leadership of the CRVA, the community has actively been pursuing the amateur and youth sports market for more than 10 years now. The market generates a sizeable economic impact for the region, serving as a hotel room night generator for oftentimes need or low demand periods (holidays, weekends and the summer), which traditional convention business doesn’t necessarily fill. This business often impacts outlying areas and limited service hotels beyond the Center City footprint due to the concentration of sports facilities, fields and park space across the region.