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NAIA Brings $1.5 Million to Local Economy | Business

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NAIA Brings $1.5 Million to Local Economy
NAIA Brings $1.5 Million to Local Economy

ROME, GA -- On Tuesday, Dec. 21, the Greater Rome Convention & Visitors Bureau (GRCVB) announced that the Russell Athletic / NAIA Football National Championship created over $1.5 million in the local economy.

GRCVB officials estimate that over 2,700 out-of-town visitors were in Rome throughout the weekend to see Carroll College trump the University of Sioux Falls 10-7.

"It was almost a sell-out this year -- the stands were packed," said Rachel Rogers, NAIA Championship Week coordinator and director of athletic development at Shorter University. "It was great to have the local support join in this effort."

The game and related events filled approximately 2,800 hotel room nights in Rome from Wednesday, Dec. 15 to Saturday, Dec. 18.

Teams were housed in the Holiday Inn Express and the Country Inn and Suites. Fans and officials were spread throughout the county's other accomodations.

"During the winter months, the hospitality industry is particularly slow. Any event with this significant impact is great news for our local hospitality industry during these months," said Ann Hortman, sports marketing and events coordinator of the GRCVB.

"NAIA was great for Rome. Fans were constantly in our restaurant all week and several catering orders helped us tremendously," said Patrick Vanhorn, manager of Harvest Moon Cafe.

The final estimated economic impact of $1.65 million takes into account all the typical spending of a sporting event tourist: accommodation, transportation, food and beverage, shopping, entertainment, souvenirs, catering and event attendance.

"We base our estimates on average spending habits provided to us by the Georgia Department of Economic Development and then account for local particularities," said Chris Cannon, director of communication of the GRCVB.

In addition to direct spending benefiting businesses, the local and state governments will gain an estimated $107,000 in sales tax revenue.

"We are very pleased with the lasting economic results of the NAIA Championship in our community that will continue as tourists return to Rome again and again. Even more, the national television coverage is enhancing our image and prestige to make Rome a recognizable name in hosting sporting events," said Lisa Smith, executive director of the GRCVB.

Rome will host the NAIA Football National Championship through 2015.