By NIMROD NL QUINONES
Blockbuster movies bring in thousands or millions of people to the theaters to watch them. Bestselling books are determined by the number of copies sold.
Some top-grossing events become such because of gate receipts, but how about a sporting event where only participants pay a registration fee and the spectators get free admission?
The number of entries might be determining factor, but then organizers also have to limit participants to be able to efficiently manage the event. For a major sports tourism activity like the recent Regent Aguila Ironman 70.3 we look at the figures I terms of money poured into the economy.
While many have complained about the inconvenience that they suffered due to the road closures, let us also take a look at what such event has brought to the local economy.
This way, major sports tourism event organizers, local officials, and the people in general would have a better understanding how such events are good for the majority.
Based on the figures that were provided to me, there were a total of 2,268 participants in this year’s Ironman 70.3 in Cebu. Of this number, 1,461 were Filipinos and 807 were foreigners.
I made some very conservative estimates on their spending for the race to help explain why it is important to support this.
Let’s say each Filipino participant spent an average of Php 20,000 during the three to four days that they were here for the race. That is a total of Php 29.2 million.
The foreigners, let’s say spent an average of US$1,500 each while in Cebu. That is about Php 77 thousand per athlete or Php 62.1 million.
From the athletes alone that is already more than Php 90 million.
How about their companions. If each athlete had one companion, that will double the amount of money spent here for the duration of the race making the total Php 180 million.
The organizers hired many people and spent on the printing of collaterals, transportation, food, and many more. The hotels where the athletes, their companions and spectators stayed hired additional workers for the duration of the event.
Then there are the small store owners, the water and food vendors along the race route, who also earned from selling to the spectators.
Aside from the main race, there was also the Alaska Ironkids event, which drew a total of 400 participants this year. Since these are children, they were accompanied by their parents and guardians so we estimate about 1,200 people for that race alone. If they spent an average of Php 10,000 each that is Php 12 million from this side event alone.
Without doubt, the staging of the race has brought in much to the economy, but this does not mean the problems that cropped up can just be brushed aside. While the organizers are handling the technical aspect of the race, the local government heads must also do their share of ensuring that the people they put to task would do their job properly to prevent glitches.
The event has already been held eight times and solutions to the usual problem of traffic congestion, access to the airport, crowd control should have already been addressed. Maybe our local leaders must also start taking a look at what they are doing or go over the notes of the previous administrations.
Major sports tourism events like the Ironman 70.3 need the full support of the people. The LGU leaders are the key to make this happen.