Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008

AT&T tourney brought economy almost $17 million

Attendance was down 31 percent from last year

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Gazette file photo
Anthony Kim hits a tee shot on the 18th hole during play at the AT&T National July 6 at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda. The six-day tournament brought nearly $17 million into the state.

Last month's AT&T National Golf Tournament generated nearly $17 million for the state's economy, according to the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

The tournament, which ran July 1-6 at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, brought more than $5 million in employee income and 200 jobs to the county during that week, according to Kristina Ellis, a spokeswoman with the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development.

While attendance numbers were down from last year — 107,000 spectators over six days, versus 155,000 last year – Ellis said the county was still satisfied with the return.

"I don't know that we necessarily had a target number in mind for the amount we hoped to bring in," she said, "but while overall attendance was down a little from last year, $17 million is still pretty good."

The total fiscal impact from the tournament includes $682,000 in state sales tax, $148,600 in state income tax, $116,700 in local impact tax and $75,000 in hotel occupancy tax, according to the statistics released.

The economic impact, Ellis said, was measured in terms of additional output or sales, employee income and employment created by the tournament.

Of the 107,000 tournament-goers, nearly 11,000 stayed in hotels, Ellis said.

The tournament host, top-ranked Tiger Woods, did not play in this year's event due to recent knee surgery. Ellis said she hopes Woods will return next year, and that the tournament can continue to grow.

"I think that the longer we host it, and it becomes a growing tournament, I think each year will bring more positive economic development to the county," she said. "Hopefully Tiger will be healthy next year and it will continue to increase the tournament's significance."

This report originally appeared in The Business Gazette.