2A Tourney Sells Out Owensboro Hotels

CVB happy with the results

Inclement weather during the inaugural Kentucky 2A state basketball tournament at the Sportscenter on Jan. 18-20 caused the event to lose $8,760, Jared Bratcher, sports marketing director for the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said this week.

But Kyle Aud, CVB chairman, called the money a good investment.

“From a mission standpoint, we filled every hotel in town that weekend,” he said. “And we’ll get the 3 percent tax on each of the rooms.”

Bratcher estimated that the tournament had at least a $500,000 economic impact on the community.

Last year, the CVB bid $1,000 for a package of tournaments that included the state boys and girls basketball tournaments and agreed to absorb any losses.

The package includes state baseball and softball tournaments in 2020-21 and volleyball and soccer tournaments in 2021-22.

The 2A tournaments are for schools that are too large for the All ‘A’ Classic but have fewer than 1,000 students.

Eight boys teams and eight girls teams from across the state advanced to the basketball tournament in Owensboro.

And the CVB was hoping for ticket sales of about 7,500.

“We had a decent crowd the first day,” Bratcher said. “Then, there was a winter weather advisory the second day. We moved the night games to earlier in the day because of that. So, we lost ticket sales from that night. Sunday, the roads were icy, and a lot of people stayed home. But the tournament itself couldn’t have been better.”

Ticket sales topped out at about 2,400.

If it had sold 1,000 more tickets over the three days, the tournament would have broken even, Bratcher said.

“I think the tournaments will break even very quickly,” he said of the future. “More schools will be joining the 2A tournament next year. And we got a lot of exposure from this year’s tournament.”

The CVB went after the 2A tournaments after the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Fast-pitch Softball State Tournament announced that it was moving from Owensboro this year after a decade in town.

“We spent $12,000 last year to host that tournament,” Bratcher said.

The $8,760 that the 2A tournament lost was $3,240 less than the softball tournament cost.


Mark Calitri, CVB president, said, “We’re an events town. We need events to draw people to Owensboro.”

And the strategy is working.

The 3 percent tax on hotel room rentals brought in $53,559 in January — up 10.7 percent from last year’s $47,847.

Those figures represent hotel stays in November because the money reaches the CVB two months after it is collected.

Calitri said the figure will eventually be higher.

One hotel is three months behind in turning in its tax receipts, he said.

Calitri predicted that February receipts (for December) “will be another record month.”

Messenger-Inquirer article written by Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, [email protected]