Restaurants team up with Civic Center to boost tournament hospitalityClass B high school basketball tournaments held at the Civic Center generate more than 16,000 visitors to Jamestown and about $1 million in economic impact, according to Civic Center Manager Pam Fosse. The numbers are conservative and don’t include the teams and their officials. In all, Fosse said, just those six basketball tournaments — boys and girls county, district and regional — can generate close to 20,000 visitors to Jamestown. Those numbers alone make tournaments here a priority, Fosse said. They also mean looking for ways to increase tournament action at the Civic Center.
Class B high school basketball tournaments held at the Civic Center generate more than 16,000 visitors to Jamestown and about $1 million in economic impact, according to Civic Center Manager Pam Fosse.
The numbers are conservative and don’t include the teams and their officials. In all, Fosse said, just those six basketball tournaments — boys and girls county, district and regional — can generate close to 20,000 visitors to Jamestown. Those numbers alone make tournaments here a priority, Fosse said. They also mean looking for ways to increase tournament action at the Civic Center.
“Not only professional and collegiate athletic events but high school as well have become a major tourist attraction,” Fosse said. “It improves the local economy and encourages return visits.”
It’s called sports tourism and more than a year ago, Fosse said, she and others wanted to organize a city-wide sports committee, similar to the Metro Area Tournament Committee in Fargo-Moorhead. One of its members came to Jamestown to discuss the F-M committee with sports-minded people here.
“The lack of interest here made coordinating a committee of that size unfeasible,” Fosse said. “But five or six of us decided to take what we had here and make it better.”
The group decided on a hospitality program. The 35 local restaurants and fast food establishments were invited to participate last fall. Fosse said she met with a handful of them.
“We asked them to help facilitate the growth of sports and sports tourism in our community,” she said.
Seven local restaurants agreed to participate with six of them involved in the last two tournaments. Fosse said they’ve been “great.” The Civic Center has designated a hospitality room for coaches, officials and media participating in the tournament. The restaurants take turns providing meals and snacks for them as the officials are often on site for nine or more hours in one day. The food is either replenished throughout the day or kept in warmers.
“It’s nice to have a room just for them,” she said. “And RSVP provides volunteers to monitor the hospitality room.”
Dairy Queen is one of the participating restaurants. Fosse said DQ can’t keep hamburgers, for example, fresh on site, so it has taken on the responsibility of providing treats in the hospitality room throughout the days of the tournament. Dairy Queen owner Mark Wolf is happy to do his part.
“As an owner of a restaurant, I’d say tourism is an important part of our business,” Wolf said. “I feel strongly that it’s important to put our best foot forward as a community and roll out the carpet for the teams, fans and officials.”
What the restaurants get from their donation of food is advertising. Fosse said the participating restaurants are listed in the hospitality room with a recommendation to patronize them. The participating restaurants are announced during the games and will also be displayed in the arena. And there are plans to get them listed in tournament programs.
“For us it’s a cheap investment as teams and fans spend money in James-town,” Wolf said.
He added he’s received a few verbal thank yous and a written one for DQ’s participation.
“This is something the restaurants can do to support and promote their community,” Fosse said. “We’d really like to encourage increased participation and spread out the responsibility a bit.”
So far, Jamestown High School Athletic Director Jim Roaldson said, he hasn’t hosted a tournament or any sporting event at the Civic Center since the hospitality room was created.
“I have been present at several meetings where this has been discussed,” Roaldson said. “I think that Pam and the group are on the right track as most often the restaurants in town are the direct beneficiaries of such events.”
The hospitality room’s only drawback has been the intrusion of unauthorized visitors looking for free food, Fosse said. To alleviate the abuse, she said the tournament officials, coaches and media will wear wristbands.
“We want to keep the hospitality room for what it was intended and keep the cost down for the restaurant,” she said.
With the hospitality room as a start, Wolf, Fosse and Roaldson would like to see more tournaments and sporting events here. Fosse would also like to see more community members involved.
“The hospitality program has given us the motivation to produce and attract more sporting events and continue hosting those we currently have,” she said.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at email@example.com