Gymnastics Meet is Springboard for Local Economy - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Gymnastics Meet is Springboard for Local Economy

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Hundreds of gymnasts will be flipping and tumbling their way into Erie's Bayfront Convention Center this weekend.

The hotels and restaurants of Erie see a substantial rise in business when sporting events come to town.

"They invest money, they leave money here, and hopefully they return to do it time and time again," said Ron Sertz, Executive Director of the Erie Sports Commission.

Even though the Stars and Stripes Gymnastics Invitational is near downtown Erie this year, Nick Scott hopes business from the meet will find its way to the upper Peach Street area as well.

"Hopefully they'll come up to this area for the movie theater, for the restaurants, for Splash Lagoon and that type of thing," Said Scott.

The invitational has grown from humble beginnings, to become the second largest gymnastics meet in the state.

"It started as most of these events do, small, with a couple hundred competitors," said Sertz. "As we got involved, we saw an opportunity to make it bigger and better."

That's why the commission decided to move it to the convention center last year, "and now we have well over a thousand (competitors)," said Sertz.

The Sports Commission welcomes tens of thousands of people to Erie every year. It's an important part of our city's financial balancing act.

"We try to drive tourism because tourism drives dollars into the economy, whether it be hotel usage, whether it be restaurants,  or just the entertainment areas," Sertz said.

"They stay in hotels, they eat in restaurants, and they go to the casino and they go to Splash Lagoon," Scott said, "so that's all good for the Erie economy."

The Sports Commission is making sure they keep city revenue up in the years ahead.

A bowling tournament planned for next year is expected to bring in about 8,000 people, and the NCAA Women's Basketball tournament, held at the Erie Insurance Arena, will bring thousands as well.

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