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Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and 5Ks: The 4th and Sports

29 Jun, 2016

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Red, white and blue. Oh, and a whole lot of green, particularly for sports event planners.

The Fourth of July will bring its patriotic festivities (including the expected parades, fireworks, barbecues and more) but there’s also a distinct economic impact, particularly for those who are tying their event into the holiday.

The slice of the all-American pie is growing, too. According to the National Retail Federation, the amount of money being spent is growing. In 2015, more than 156 million consumers—nearly two thirds of those celebrating (64.4 percent), indicated they planned to take part in the patriotic holiday, spending an average of $71.23 per household, up from $68.16 from the prior year. The total projected economic impact of the Fourth in 2015 in hospitality terms was expected to be $6.7 billion. The fact that in 2016, the holiday falls on a Monday, giving Americans a three-day weekend, will add to the spend this year, since it will encourage more travel and facilitate more opportunities for entertainment and for hosting or attending parties.

Running In the USA lists a total of 652 Fourth of July-themed running events. The vast majority are 5Ks and will be held on the holiday itself (although a few are held the Saturday prior.) Many are held in conjunction with Fourth of July parades (just prior to a morning parade and along the parade route being a popular combination.)

Those who would rather enjoy the Great American Pastime (from the comfort of the bleachers) can count on MLB and MiLB teams to also tie into the festivities with post-game celebrations and fireworks, patriotic music, drill teams and more.

The three-day weekend will lend itself to travel, which actually may feed into patriotic-themed events; sports enthusiasts often have a bucket list that includes running in new places, going to sports events in different cities and so forth.

On the rec level, expect cities to attract sports tourism by hosting weekend-long tournaments. The Stars and Stripes American Legion Baseball Tournament is held in Delano, Minnesota, and is an essential part of the town’s festivities (this year marking the 159th anniversary of the celebration.)

Even tennis clubs are hosting their own events. The Paseo Club Valencia, located in Valencia, California, is holding its Fourth of July Round Robin tournament. Newport Hills Swim & Tennis Club in Bellevue, Washington, also has its Fourth of July Tennis Tournament.

The most explosively growing sport of all, pickleball, isn’t sitting quietly for the holiday. Eden Prairie, Minnesota’s Hometown Fourth of July Celebration includes its big pickleball tournament. Not to be outdone, the City of St. George, Utah, hosts its own Fourth of July Pickleball Scrambler.

Want disc golf? The PDGA website has a whole calendar of events, including those over the Fourth of July weekend (with names like Red White and Boom, and Huk for Independence.)

 And if any of these events are offering a T-shirt, hat or other patriotic-themed apparel, expect it to be popular. At least 44 percent of the National Retail Federation’s surveyed audience said they plan to purchase at least one Fourth of July-appropriate piece of clothing.

Especially if it’s a sweat-wicking one.

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