As a child I played almost every youth sport that was available to me. At the time I had no idea what the economic impact was from all of the events, tournaments and road trips that filled my family’s calendar, but now as a Zartico Data Advisor, I see the effect of youth sports every single day. I get questions that range from understanding the impact of a youth baseball tournament to the impact of a visiting Super Bowl team’s fans' impact on the host city. The range varies but the patterns are often similar. Pandemic or not, people will travel for sports.
Currently, Zartico is looking at county-by-county recovery patterns throughout the United States. The constant variance in challenges we work on is among the many reasons I am a proud Zartican. Another is learning about destinations I either haven’t visited in years or at all.
The last time I was in Stockton, California I was a 17-year-old high school senior scoping out the University of the Pacific for an opportunity to play water polo. I have vague but fond memories of Stockton as a college student and a youth sports tournament attendee.
Wes Rhea, CEO of Visit Stockton, asked Zartico to analyze the Stockton Arena to help him understand if it drew people from out-of-market. In October of 2019, the arena’s management company merged with AEG, which Wes had hoped would “allow us to get new artists and events in town.” Just as the new season of events started, COVID-19 hit and everything was shut down. The local perception had been that it was only frequented by local Stocktonians and didn’t drive out-of-town visitation. We wanted to compare the visitation in 2019 to the visitation that would take place as events return under the new management company.
Looking at geo-location data for the 2019 visitor, we quickly learned that almost 1/3 of the audience at the Stockton Arena were visitors. Of these visitors, 55% stayed at a local hotel, and 20% of all attendees stayed overnight.
We are currently tracking California to open on June 15th, and we will continue to monitor visitation to the Stockton Arena to analyze visitation trends throughout recovery as well as in response to the change in management. We are also eager to see what other amazing questions and challenges Wes brings our way and if there happens to be another water polo tournament... I’m there. #notgettinginthepool