'Passing' on the wealth; Amarillo sports teams boost economy

Touchdown, homerun, goal...however you want to say it, Amarillo's professional sports teams are "winning" when it comes to bringing home the bacon our local economy.

Not only are locals spending money with teams like the Amarillo Bulls, Amarillo Venom and Amarillo Sox, but also those same sporting events are drawing in out-of-towners who shop, eat and stay in town as well. But what many may not realize is the amount of money spent locally by those teams themselves on things like rent, advertising and employment wages.

"Yeah, we pay rent," said Amarillo Venom General Manager Stephanie Tucker. "We pay tickets, we take care of the advertising."

"We're going to spend $700,000 to $800,000 in expenses this year and that is running that ballpark," Amarillo Sox General Manager Mark Lee calculated. "That's everywhere from concession food to the lights to the water to just making a ballpark run."

Those teams are also providing jobs to many local citizens and handing out a few more dollars in employee wages.

"Close to ten full-time staff but also on the event side of it, there's a lot of part-time staff that are hired through the Civic Center and through us to work the event," added Amarillo Bulls General Manager, Chris Laurie.

The new Multi-Purpose Event Venue baseball complex to be built downtown is expected to bring even more money back to Amarillo, possibly millions.

"There would a $197 million impact over a 30 year period to Amarillo," explained Downtown Amarillo Inc. Executive Director, Melissa Dailey. "That's both direct impact and indirect, which means it also includes spin-off businesses that occur because the MPEV is here and because people are coming downtown to do other things."

Although there's no denying the sports industry has affected and will continue to affect the Amarillo economy, one of the biggest impacts it has made locally isn't actually an economic one at all.

"Having those three local teams is something that every city our size doesn't have and so they really are a valuable asset to the community and we're lucky to have professional teams in a town our size," said Amarillo Chamber Convention & Visitor Council Vice President, Jerry Holt.

"It shows you that there's a lot of sports fans here and a lot of people that care about this community and supporting the local sports teams," added Laurie. "I think that's a good sign."


To view Part One of this series, click here.