A strong start and finish, combined with steady mid-year performance led to solid growth in 2013 in terms of sports tourism economic impact in the Wenatchee Valley. A mixture of new events, dependable weather, and no major disruptions (see fires of 2012) led to growth in all measureable areas. According to Wenatchee Valley Sports estimates, 50,798 visiting participants and accompaniment attended 162 events, compared to 45,928 for 154 events last year. That equated to 25,270 room nights, up 731 (3.0%) from 2012. Overall sports tourism spending for tournaments and events was $7,360,703- up $516,201 (7.5%) over the previous year.As expected, baseball/softball led the way, accounting for 31.4% of total spending. Cycling/running was next at 11.0%. The top 5 events in terms of estimated sports tourism spending:Winter Special Olympics $706,629Triple Crown (Boys Baseball) $591,555Wenatchee Marathon $321,057Apple Cup Soccer $305,004Apple Capital Swim Meet $262,994“It’s interesting that the top 5 is composed of 5 different sports” noted Matt Kearny, sports tourism director of the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Having such a wide variety of events heavily attended by those from outside the area is a positive sign that provides a solid foundation for growth in those categories in the years to come.”As for the immediate future, 2014 is expected to start slow, but then gain momentum as the year goes on. “We have some significant new events coming in, and have others that appear to be starting an upward spiral”, noted Kearny. “They should more than offset a recent trend that has seen a reduction in the number of teams participating in many baseball and softball tournaments.”

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