Dublin Villager

Top Gun Football Camp a key player in local economy

By

The Top Gun Football Camp will bring more than athletes to Dublin this month.

The Football University camp held at Jerome High School July 17-23 that brings the top 1,500 high and middle school players from around the world to town will also bring their green.

"It consumes the entire town," said Josh Brinker of the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"If you hit any restaurant in the Perimeter area, they're all full of parents looking for places to eat," Brinker said.

"We even heard from the manager of the Bridge Street Kroger (Co. store) that there was an uptick in business."

The weeklong event brings a major increase in overnight stays in Dublin as well, stimulating the city's hotel/motel tax fund.

Top Gun was held in Dublin for the first time last year and it generated 4,200 room nights.

"To put that in scope, the only thing in 2013 that beat the Top Gun event was the Presidents Cup with 6,000 room nights," Bricker said.

"Top Gun was the No. 2 event. It beat the Dublin Irish Festival and the Memorial Tournament."

But the economic impact goes beyond hotels as families try to find food and entertainment while in the area.

"A lot of parents don't stick around (the camp)," Bricker said.

"We send them to the zoo, Zoombezi Bay and COSI."

Stores also see Top Gun business.

"It's the same with Dick's (Sporting Goods)," Bricker said.

"Someone may forget a mouth piece or need a camping chair and they look for the closest sporting goods store," he said.

"And it's not just Dick's, it's restaurants, Walmart (and) the mall (at Tuttle Crossing)."

To secure the event for a second year the Convention and Visitors Bureau and city had to give grants of $25,000 each, but Bricker said it's made back in hotel/motel tax dollars.

"A percentage of the room (cost) goes back to the bed tax," he said.

"It's one of the few events that bed tax (money) generated covered the cost of the grant 100 percent.

"We are getting a return on our investment 100 percent."

The exposure Dublin gets from the athletes that come from more than 40 states and six countries also gives the event value.

"We had tons of news and articles written about kids coming to Dublin, Ohio," Bricker said, adding the athletes take to social media and give the city exposure there as well.

Dublin City Schools profits from the rental of Jerome High School and a few other groups also benefit from Top Gun's presence.

"The athletic boosters run concessions there," Bricker said.

"It's a huge revenue boost for the Dublin Jerome Athletics Boosters and they also gave money to the Dublin Special Olympics for sending volunteers ... . It's an amazing event and we're happy to work with them to keep it coming back."

The Football University camp was held in Dublin for the first time last year after four years in Williamsburg, Va.

Bricker is hoping Dublin can hold on to the event.

"We are working closely with the directors and owners of the event and doing everything we can to make sure guests have the best time and best experience possible," he said.

"We go out and talk to retailers to get discounts for them.

"We put coupons in a vendor area so restaurants and vendors in Dublin have the opportunity to bring in business but also provide value for Top Gun guests as well."

Comments