By Andy Kanengiser
NCTTA Media Chair
Bringing about 300 of the best collegiate table tennis players in the USA and Canada to Eau Claire provides an economic boost to the city of 66,000 residents in Wisconsin.
It's not like landing a huge automobile plant or attracting a pro sports franchise, but hosting the 2017 TMS collegiate table tennis championships helps Eau Claire.
Ben Morgan, sports sales manager with Visit Eau Claire, breaks it down in terms of dollars and cents for the April 7-9 tournament. The bulk of the players, coaches, fans, and volunteers arrive April 6. They will stay in the city's hotels, eat at area restaurants, and visit the city's downtown, buy gas and go shopping before heading home.
Measuring the tournament's economic impact, it adds up to $83,700 based on approximately 310 room nights from the early April tournament, Morgan says.
The 2015 TMS national collegiate championships was also held at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus. So that event gave the city a nice shot in the arm from table tennis. It would be pretty similar to the dollars generated for the 2017 games,
There are plenty of things to do for visitors away from the table tennis games. Families might want to sample the Action City/Chaos Waterpark, Morgan suggests. It includes arcade style games and an indoor water park along with a recently added trampoline park.
Located along the Chippewa River, the city of Eau Claire sits 90 miles from Minneapolis-St. Paul. Its big selling point, of course, is the 11,000-student University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus. The school school competes in NCAA Division III in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Blugolds have captured 140 conference championships over the years.
The west-central Wisconsin city's growing list of restaurants and night spots featuring live music are popular attractions year-round.
Landing a national collegiate table tennis championship for the second time can't hurt as Eau Claire leaders seek to court other major sporting events and conventions.
NCTTA President Willy Leparulo is impressed with the city's friendly leaders and cooperation of key people like Ben Morgan. The people in Eau Claire, he said "have been great. We enjoy working with them once again.''
Morgan commends the work by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire team, particularly club president Alex Tollison, for his efforts to recruit tournament volunteers.
Leparulo notes that volunteers are crucial to the success of the NCTTA tournament in Wisconsin.
The 2017 TMS College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Eau Claire CVB and is one of the premier table tennis tournaments in North America featuring 6 events: Men’s and Women’s Singles and Doubles, and Men’s/Coed Teams, Women’s Teams. The event is sponsored by TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish
Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 7th and continues through Sunday April 9th.
The National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) is a non-profit organization established exclusively for promoting the sport of table tennis at the college level. As the national governing body for college table tennis in the United States and Canada, NCTTA organizes intercollegiate competition throughout North America. www.nctta.org
About USA Table Tennis
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, USATT is the national organizing body for table tennis in the United States, serving 9,000+ members and nearly 300 clubs. USATT sanctions 200+ events a year including the US Open and US Nationals. USATT is affiliated with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), as well as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). www.usatt.org