Economics

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Going Green Can Keep Event Owners in the Black this Month

7 Mar, 2018

By: Mary Helen Sprecher
A Saturday St. Patrick’s Day is a Pot of Gold for Tournaments, Races and of Course, Events with a Party Attached

The beer is green, the shamrocks are green and event owners and rights holders will be doing the counting of the green, provided they take advantage of this particular St. Patrick’s Day.

The holiday (such as it is) falls on a Saturday, and event owners are making the most of that. The National Retail Federation (NRF) notes that consumers are primed and ready to spend. According to NRF's annual St. Patrick's Day survey, more than 139 million celebrated – and spent on St. Patrick’s Day. I fact, spending was recorded as an average of $37.92 per person. Total spending was $5.3 billion — the highest in survey history.

The holiday, which includes a strong celebratory component, resonates across all age groups, although ages 25-34 (the post-college, legal drinking age crowd) planned to spend the most – ore than $45 per person.

While typical celebrations include wearing green, drinking and eating a special meal, the impact on sports planners is enormous. Running in the USA, which tracks running events across the USA, normally sees a race number on most March weekends in the high 300s (374, 391, etc.) has recorded a record-high 560 races on St. Patrick’s Day, (and not surprisingly, precious few on the Sunday following, in the low 100s.) Most of these are 5K races, which include keywords such as Shamrock, Leprechaun, Irish, St. Patrick and St. Paddy. Themed races continue to be popular with crowds, and any event in which participants are urged to wear green, dress as a leprechaun, wear kilts (or anything that might pass for a kilt) and more are all popular, particularly with those who run to be social, rather than competitive.

Often, races accompany events such as St. Patrick’s Day parades and festivals – and as a result, include a party component at the end. Many race fees cover the cost of a beer tent at the end, and if the event happens to be held in an area where eateries and bars are available, the potential for more widespread economic impact is there. Some races abandon all pretense of a fitness activity and publicize that they have “aid stations.” (The kind that involve a shot glass.)

But races are far from the only events counting on St. Patrick to show them the green. Triple Crown Sports is hosting its San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Tournament for youth baseball a week early (March 10) while another baseball event, the St. Patrick’s Day Xtreme Diamond Sports Classic, runs the very next day in Fountain Valley. The St. Patrick’s Classic Pro, a disc golf tournament, is taking place that weekend as well, in Orangeville, California. Colorado Springs has the Pedalin’ for St. Pat’s bicycle event. Cypress Cove Resort offers both pickleball and a fishing tournament during the March 16-18 extended weekend.

Of course, those who want a far more native St. Patrick’s Day experience, the Irish Mirror has a great synopsis of what’s coming that up that weekend. Action includes rugby, golf, fights, hurling and soccer. If you want to get closer to home, you could always find out what the local organizations of the U.S Gaelic Athletic Association are up to. Just don’t confuse them with Game of Thrones or the Highland Games. They hate that.

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