Football and Martial Arts fans bring extra cash to Little Rock economy

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Two major sporting events brought thousands of fans to the Capitol City this weekend and leaders are hoping it will lead to a big boost for the local economy.

The University of Arkansas took on University of Arkansas Pine Bluff this weekend at War Memorial Saturday and the American Taekwondo Association held its fall nationals at the Statehouse Convention Center.

“It’s nice to have the buzz back in town again,” ATA International Director of Training Scott Skiles said.

On the mat, ATA international brought in thousands to Little Rock for the Martial Arts competition.

“This is our largest Fall Nationals Tournament ever,” Skiles said. “We have over 1,400 competitors from all over the country and we have some international competitors as well.”

Skiles says competition events started Tuesday.

If you factor in one family member per athlete, you’re looking at a minimum of 3,000 people staying in town and spending money.

On the gridiron, more than 40,000 fans filled the stands for a historical game between the Razorbacks and the UAPB Golden Lions.

Ticket prices at War Memorial, at the lowest, were $38. If you multiply that by 40,000 fans, you’re looking at $1.5 million just for seats.

Little Rock businessman Steve Landers says that’s not including everything people spend money on after the final play.

“It brings money to businesses, restaurants, hotels, parking, fuel stations,” Landers said.

Landers and Skiles say the economic boost is just what the city needs after a slow period during the pandemic.

“Coming out of the pandemic businesses and hotels are running at slim capacity,” Skiles said. “I think it’s a great boost.”

Our station reached out to the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau and is still waiting on final numbers for this weekend’s total economic impact.

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