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Business Observer Thursday, Sep. 2, 2021 4 months ago

Area tournament brings in 500 spectators, 531 athletes for six-day event

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A world cornhole tournament held in Bradenton holds promise in becoming a recurring event.

A world cornhole event held in Bradenton that brought in 531 athletes holds promise for future events and return visitors. 

The Bradenton Area Convention Center hosted the American Cornhole Organization's World Championships of Cornhole 16 during week of July 26-31. The event followed the 2021 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships held in the Bradenton area. “We had a pretty good month,” Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, tells Coffee Talk. 

The cornhole event’s athletes represented 32 states. The convention and visitors bureau reported the economic impact at $929,138 with more than 500 spectators for the event. The attendees reportedly stayed in hotels, vacation rentals, condos and homes throughout Manatee County for an average six-night stay. 

“We like to build relationships during these events so that they want to come back,” says Falcione. 

And they did just that, as Falcione believes the event will continue coming back to the area every two to three years. Additionally, the regional event will continue to take place once a year. The ACO’s regional event took place in March, bringing in about 250 athletes.

While the business impact of the event has yet to be determined, the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau have specific goals for such events. “Any time we sponsor an event, we’re hoping to get a 5-10% return on investment,” says Falcione. 

A portion of the event’s audience were what he calls “first timers,” or people who haven’t visited this area before. Traditionally, he says, research has shown that around 94% of those first timers will return in about a year for vacation. Additionally, Falcione was impressed with the number of people the event brought during one of the hottest times of the year.

“The intriguing part was the time of year,” he says. “We were able to bring in this many people at the end of July.” 

The week event packed in cornhole challenges, vendors, player meet-and-greets and more. ACO professionals competed for a $50,000 prize sponsored by Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, Sarasota, and Bud Light. 

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