GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The 2014 Bassmaster Classic brought in record-breaking crowds to Marshall County, but after the tournament ended it was met with mixed opinions from business owners on how it impacted the county.
Evidence the Bassmaster Classic was held in Guntersville is scattered throughout the city. Signs welcoming the pros and the crowds are still displayed at local businesses.
A total crowd of nearly 12,000 came to watch the blast-off on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tournament officials say that’s the largest crowd at a launch in the Classic’s history.
After the blast-off was over though, many of those people headed out of town, causing a stir with some local business owners who were prepared for those thousands to stay and shop.
Some business owners say they were happy with the business the tournament brought into town, but others say they’re disappointed.
County leaders say holding the Classic in Guntersville isn’t just about the short-term impact.
“Being able to bid and get the coverage from just hosting the event is going to have the long-term impact, we hope the long-term positive impact for our community,” Marshall County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau President Katy Norton says.
Norton says the area was broadcast on a nationwide level, advertising the county in a way officials couldn’t have done otherwise.
She says Monday morning she fielded calls from people from out of state who had watched the Classic, and wanted to come to Guntersville for a vacation.
Norton says that’s why they strive to host events like the Classic.
“To have people come and spend some time with us and hopefully be return visitors,” Norton says.