Owensboro arranging for a huge boom in sports tourism!

Published on : Thursday, August 13, 2020

Optimistically, see in your mind’s eye that the coronavirus pandemic is over, in the distant future. After a $2.95 million renovation work, the Kentucky Legend Fields at Jack C. Fisher Park are open to the public.
And a new indoor sports complex in the former Macy’s building at Towne Square Mall is all set to open for the public.

“We will have a huge boom in sports tourism,” Jared Bratcher, sports marketing director for the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said lately. “We estimated that sports tourism accounted for $20 million to $22 million last year. It would be a lot more than that with the new Fisher Park and an indoor sports complex.”

At this moment, it’s not possible to calculate how many millions more could be generated by the two sports facilities, he said.

Bratcher said that the indoor complex has the power to produce even bigger tourism impact than the ballpark. “It would be the largest tourism dollar driver in the area.”

On July 2020, a group of local investors for $1.25 million bought the old Macy’s property.

Jim Estes, spokesman for the group, said at the time, “We’re willing to do whatever the city wants out there.”

Last week, he said, “I met with Mark Calitri (CVB president) and a facility development and marketing company today. Our goal is to provide a service the city says it needs. It will be attached to a mall, something that’s being done all over the country. We feel like it can be a win-win-win for us, the mall and the city.”

Shopping malls will definitely come back. “There’s plenty of parking out there and room to build on,” Bratcher said. “We anticipate them working together with the mall owners. They need each other to be successful. We see a mall of some type, but maybe with doctors’ offices, a sports clinic, restaurants, day care. I definitely see it coming back, but not as it was.”

To quote Bratcher,“If you provide everything the fans need, they will park there all day.”

Bratcher said, “Six to eight basketball courts are needed. If we had that, we could attract 60 to 80 basketball and volleyball teams for tournaments. Indoor sports are exploding. Archery, volleyball, dance and cheer, basketball. They could all use that space. I’d like to see something there every weekend.”

Estes said, “You’re looking at a year to build something like this. And you don’t want to open in June. You want the right season.”

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