For Immediate Release

April 17, 2020

 

Travelers Spent $4 Million When Visiting Goldsboro’s Bryan Multi-Sports Complex in 2019

 

Goldsboro, N.C. – The Travel and Tourism Department for the City of Goldsboro and Wayne County, also known as Visit Goldsboro, has published an economic impact report on the 2019 calendar year of the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex located in Goldsboro. The report reveals that during January 1 – December 31, 2019, the complex generated an estimated $4,006,124 of new revenue into the local economy from visitor expenditures, which translates into approximately $270, 416 of sales tax and $16,952 of occupancy tax revenues.

 

The report is based on data collected from multiple sources. These include the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex’s internal reports for sporting events during the 2019 calendar year, Goldsboro-Wayne County Travel and Tourism market research, and Visit NC’s Visitor Profile Study.  Additionally, the Travel and Tourism Department collaborated with local hotels to document actualized room nights based on events held at the venue.

 

There were 236 events between January 1 – December 31, 2019 at the sports complex. Soccer is the most popular sport hosted at the complex, but the venue also regularly hosts cross country, Ultimate Frisbee, and football. One of the most exciting new sporting events the complex saw in 2019 was the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships of U.S. Quidditch. It was the organization’s first time bringing its sport to North Carolina, which attracted 1,200 spectators and nearly 20 teams from as far away as Pennsylvania. U.S. Quidditch plans to return to Goldsboro in November of this year for the regional championship.

 

The success of the complex is also reflected in the strong community partnerships with area minor league teams and youth sports clubs. The city’s partnership with Wayne County United Soccer Club (WCUSC) is the key factor for why the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex has become a favorite venue for the NC Youth Soccer Association’s State Cup (NCYSA) series. The NCYSA is based in Greensboro, N.C., and their organization hosts spring and fall Kepner Cup tournaments in Goldsboro along with Olympic Development Programs for youth soccer. Those events attracted well over 10,000 visitors since the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex opened in April 2018.

 

“We couldn’t thank you (City of Goldsboro and WCUSC) enough for being such gracious, attentive, prepared and thoughtful hosts,” said Colby Morton, NCYSA assistant director of Classic/State Cups. “You all put such an emphasis on making the teams, players and families feel welcome and that alone creates a one of a kind atmosphere.”

 

Serving as the home site for two semi-professional minor league teams, the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex welcomed athletes and spectators of the East Carolina Phantoms and Goldsboro Strike Eagles Football Club in 2019. The East Carolina Phantoms are part of the Independent American Football League (IAFL) and were formerly based in Wilson before transferring to Goldsboro to make the new facility their home in late 2018.

 

The Goldsboro Strike Eagles are a semi-pro soccer team in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL). The Strike Eagles’ head coach, Yacouba Niandou, said, “winning the UPSL Mid-Atlantic North Conference regular season championship and the divisional title in the fall 2019 season would not have been possible without the impressive facility we utilize for our home games.  The Bryan Multi-Sports Complex has been an excellent facility that is spacious, clean and welcoming, and the outstanding staff from the City of Goldsboro has met every single need of our team.” Niandou added “during our 2019 spring and fall seasons, our fan base grew and we had some of the largest home game attendance in the league.”

 

The report released by Visit Goldsboro provides deeper insight as to how the complex generated visitation to the area last year. It reveals that approximately 21 sporting events held at the complex have generated overnight stays in Goldsboro-Wayne County, the estimated total of overnight travel parties was 7,287, and the estimated hotel revenue generated from sporting events was $282,540.

 

On a national level, direct visitor spending related to youth, amateur and semi-professional sporting events has been steadily on the rise. A 2017 study by the National Association of Sports Commissions, now recently branded as Sports ETA, shows that visitors spent nearly 40% more in 2017 compared to 2013 when traveling for sporting events (professional sporting events excluded) making sports tourism an $11 billion industry for communities across the United States. The opening of the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex in April 2018 came at the right time to capture the rising demand and popularity of sports-related travel.

 

“The complex continues to prove itself as a valuable asset to our tourism economy and lodging industry in Goldsboro-Wayne County. The venue has turned us into a sports destination in a relatively short time” said Ashlin Glatthar, director of Travel and Tourism for Goldsboro-Wayne County. “Our office is constantly on the lookout for new events to bring to the complex that also bring room nights to our hotels. Prospecting for new sports leads is part of our daily efforts to grow the local economy, but it’s exceptionally crucial right now to focus even more on these efforts to bounce back from the impacts that COVID-19 has had on the travel industry.”

 

While the sports complex had a tremendous year in 2019, the start of 2020 is a different story. Due to the effects of the coronavirus, destinations of every kind around the world have suffered. Since the middle of March, the complex has experienced 19 cancellations, which translate into an economic loss of approximately $530,000.

 

“We know what the complex is capable of, in terms of economic stability. This report is proof of that,” Glatthar said. “As our office looks ahead, we are confident that the quality and strength of the complex will play a key role in recovery for our hotels and tourism partners in the wake of COVID-19.”

 

“The spring UPSL season was planned to start in March, but due to the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic, it has been postponed,” said Yacouba Niandou, head coach for the Goldsboro Strike Eagles.  “We are looking forward to getting the season started as soon as it is safe for our players and fans.”

 

The East Carolina Phantoms have also delayed the start of their 2020 season with hopes of resuming in the summer.

 

“More than the quality of the venue, what really appeals to our visiting athletes, families, and fans, is our community’s genuine hospitality. We hear it time and time again from our visiting events that they have never felt so welcome by residents and businesses,” shares Felicia Brown, interim parks and recreation director for the City of Goldsboro. “I know that warmth is what really makes the complex stand out. We look forward to rolling out the red carpet for our residents and out-of-town events when it’s safe.”

 

Commenting on the successful completion of the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex project, Randy Guthrie, Goldsboro assistant city manager, said “it’s all thanks to the persistent efforts of Seymour Johnson AFB, the U.S. Air Force, and the generous sponsors, such as the Bryan Foundation. With their help, Goldsboro continues on its course towards economic growth and improved quality of life.”

 

Located on 63 acres of Seymour Johnson AFB at 501 South Oak Forest Road, the complex was built with the intent of growing the local tourism economy and enhancing the quality of life throughout the region. A product of the first joint P4 partnerships between a military base and its home community, the City of Goldsboro and Seymour Johnson AFB began this pilot project to share resources and reach common goals. The project set a new precedence for how military installations can work with their host community, and furthermore, the successful performance of the complex outlined in the economic impact report proves that this collaborative model strengthens a community.

 

Current amenities of the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex include eight all-weather playing fields — six irrigated natural Bermuda hybrid and two artificial turf fields — all installed on engineered soils.  Additional amenities include a cutting edge fieldhouse with meeting space and concessions, premium restroom facilities, walking trails, over 700 parking spots, and a retired F-4E Phantom on static display welcoming visitors to the site.

 

Just five months after the complex opened to the public, the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex was nationally recognized by Connect Sports as one of the top rated soccer facilities in the nation in their publication’s September 2018 article. Connect Sports is a senior leader in sports destination marketing and event management. The link to the article published by Connect Sports can be found here.

 

To read more about the economic impact study, click here or find it at visitgoldsboronc.com/meeting-facilities/sports-complex.

 

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For more information, contact Ashlin Glatthar, Director for Visit Goldsboro/Goldsboro-Wayne County Travel & Tourism, at aglatthar@goldsboronc.gov.

 

 

 

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