MADISON, Wis. - When the trophy is hoisted at the inaugural American Family Insurance Classic, there will be more than one winner. While a PGA Champions Tour player will claim the trophy, the community will claim tens of millions of dollars in income from the event.
"We've done some conservative estimates, and we think it is going to be in the tens of millions of dollars for the economic benefit to the city of Madison," said Jack Salzwedel, CEO of American Family Insurance.
Thousands of golf fans will attend the tournament, including many from outside the Madison area. The money they bring with them will flow throughout the community.
"You think about all the ripple effect that would have. Between hotels, restaurants, and local shopping and retail, and all the other auxiliary outputs that an event like this creates," said Steve Noll, marketing professor at Madison College.
The American Family Insurance Classic will draw a national television audience on the Golf Channel. It will put Wisconsin in a national spotlight, which could yield tourism benefits beyond the golf tournament.
"In addition to wanting to come here on a vacation and to watch golf, they are also going to be looking at the whole area. They are going to say, 'As long as we're here for the golf tournament, maybe let's spend a week at the Wisconsin Dells area that we've heard about over the years,'" Noll said.
The addition of a PGA Champions Tour event also adds to the community's stature in hosting major sporting events.
"It is huge. You know, we always look for signature events, something that can always rival Iron Man or a Badger football game day, and this is right in line with those," said Jamie Patrick, vice president of the Madison Area Sports Commission.
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