World Finals Provide a Big Economic Impact

Anthony Cicero IV and Dakota Snyder, winners from Elizabethtown HS in PA. (Courtesy photo)

FLORENCE¬– Florence-Lauderdale Tourism hosted the High School World Finals in June at McFarland Park for the fourth year in a row in partnership with The Bass Federation. Economic impact figures now tabulated show that an estimated $2.1 million of visitor-related expenditures occurred in The Shoals area as a result of the event.

Pickwick Lake hosted the 384 team field that participated in this year’s tournament. A team consists of two anglers and one driver. In first place for the 2019 tournament was Anthony Cicero IV and Dakota Snyder representing Elizabethtown High School in PA.

Visitors included participants, coaches, parents, and siblings who stayed on average 10 days in the area making this tournament one of the largest for participants with the greatest economic impact. The Colbert County Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that well over 3,800 visitors were in the Shoals for the duration of the event.

“It was an honor to be able to work with such a great event,” said Tyler Dolan, manager of Sport and Group Sales for Florence Lauderdale Tourism. Being a small part of something that is giving back to your community and giving opportunities to high school students is extremely rewarding.”

Economic impact figures are compiled through several areas of spending which include food/beverages, fuel, shopping, fishing supplies, lodging and miscellaneous categories. A total of 3,500 room nights were sold as a result of the tournament which is the largest category of spending in the analysis.

“We’ve assembled an Events Advisory Committee which allows us to vet proposed events with industry partners who have a mutual interest in the visitor economy,” said Dolan, “While fishing tournaments are the lion’s share of our programming, we are always looking for diversity in our sport programming.”

The 2019 event celebrated 10 years of the High School World Finals. More than 2.85 million dollars in scholarships, cash, and gifts were awarded to the anglers throughout the tournament.

Alabama’s Gardendale High School, brothers Griffin and Fletcher Phillips finished in second place.

The tournament will return to the Shoals in 2022.

For more information on the High School World Finals, contact Tyler Dolan at 256-740-4141.