Triple Crown injects cash into economy |

Triple Crown injects cash into economy

Dan Bischoff, Of the Record staff

Hundreds of young girls will stand over home plate and eye down their opposing pitcher in the next few weeks.

As each pitch hurls toward them, regardless if a hit or strike, it will still be a home run for Park City. Businesses could look at it as millions of dollar signs being knocked out of the park into their laps.

"Historically, since we’ve hosted that event, these end up being the three biggest lodging weeks of the summer," said Bill Malone, the executive director of the Park City Chamber/Bureau.

This year may even be larger for the Triple Crown with 350 teams expected to play.

"We are seeing our business up from last year so far about 12 percent," said Kim McClelland, president of Deer Valley Lodging. "We were hoping to be up a little bit and we didn’t expect it to be as much, that’s a good sign. It’s certainly better than last year and last year was pretty darn good."

The total economic impact can rival some of the winter events in town as, Malone said, the event injects about $9 million into the local economy.

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"It’s nothing to sneeze at," Malone said.

For a perceived winter destination, it’s ironic that a girls’ softball tournament is turning out to be one of the biggest money makers of the year.

"It is by far the largest single summer event we have in terms of lodging," McClelland said. "Everything else pales in comparison. The only other significant event would be the Deer Valley Resort World Cup Races."

Because of the Triple Crown’s three-week run, it is hard to compare it to other events that don’t last nearly as long.

"The World Cup event is a couple of days, so it’s an apples to oranges comparison, so much of the winter events are." McClelland said. "It’s nice to have been able to plug Triple Crown in the summer it seems to affect everybody."

The amount of business in town, however, may not be consistent throughout the three-week event.

"It’s a little bit different each week," Malone said.

With each week featuring different age groups, Malone expects this week (the first week) to be the biggest when the tournament brings in the A and B division ages 10 to 12.

"The 10- to12-year-olds have the highest number of people traveling per athlete. We see lots of granddads, brothers and sisters," Malone said.

McClelland said there’s more business the first and second week than the final week.

"It’s more families that travel with the younger group," McClelland said.

The third week is the oldest age group and both Malone and McClelland thought they wouldn’t bring as many family members with them.

"That tends to be more one parent or sometimes girls traveling with their coaches to play in the tournament," Malone said. "While that’s our biggest group, I’m anxious to see how many auxiliary travels with each player."

Malone said many softball families consider this their family vacation and come here ready to open their wallets. That’s what separates the Triple Crown from other sporting events held in Park City.

"This event has probably a lot more spending in the areas of families attending," Malone said.

The large groups of families dine in restaurants, shop on Main Street and play in the resorts.

"It seems to benefit the community on a total cross section," McClelland said. "They get river trips out of it, it has spread farther than we all anticipated at first."

"Guys come here with no clubs and go play golf," Malone added. "It’s typical summer vacation business that goes along with the tournament and everybody’s free in the evenings.

"It’s a great group for customers and they mostly come from the Western U.S. I see cars form Arizona, Washington, Colorado, they come form all over, and it’s great competitive softball as well."

But the biggest economic windfall is in the lodging sector.

"Their need is related to lodging, they need a place to sleep and it’s the perfect summer group for us," McClelland said.

As teams come in with families, they fill up condos and other lodging quickly.

"We’d love to do a couple of these in the summer if we could," McClelland said. "Compared to any significant event in the summertime, in my mind, Triple Crown is the best example of an economic impact that’s not a meetings and convention group."

McClelland said the teams are getting more familiar with the city and are starting to request certain areas and amenities. This year, he said people are requesting properties with air conditioning.

"In the last couple summers, it’s been pretty hot," McClelland said. "We’ re seeing our teams gravitate to those properties that have swimming pools and air conditioning."

The Chamber/Bureau and the city worked hard to bring the event to Park City and works closely with the organizers to help it run smoothly.

"There’s a lot of participation as it relates to the city in terms of preparation," Malone said.

They help with field quality, fences, dugouts, tarps, provide adequate shading and concessions. They also work with Oakley and Coalville fields that will host some of the games.

"We work with the city and town and government and county, they own the facilities," Malone said. "We work with the Snyderville Basin Recreation District in using fields at Ecker Hill and we are working with resorts."

The Chamber/Bureau also helps with organizing different activities for the girls other than softball and helps coordinate sponsorship and promotes local businesses.

"It’s a neat event for town and I think it’s a great that the city and chamber chipped in to make it happen, it’s a lot of work and I think it’s worth it," McClelland said.