FLORENCE, Ala. — In March, the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament took place on Pickwick Lake in Florence. It was the first time the city has hosted the elite series since 2011.
At the time, B.A.S.S. events director Eric Lopez said the tournament would have a lasting impact on the Shoals economy.
“Events like this, events of our size can have an economic impact anywhere from 1.5 to $2 million just here locally,” Lopez said.
In June, that vision has come to fruition. Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Sport and Group Sales Manager, Tyler Dolan said the estimated travel-related expenditures exceeded $1.1 million in the local economy.
“We didn’t expect it to be that good, coming off of COVID, coming off of a year that there was a lot of struggle, a lot of downfalls with COVID and everything like that,” Dolan said.
Dolan added this was Bassmaster’s best tournament to take place during the pandemic. He explained that many of the industries to benefit from the tournament include the restaurant and hospitality industries which struggled greatly over the last year.
The immediate impacts are evident, but Dolan said there’s also a side that people don’t see at first, “It’s going to be paying off for years to come from this tournament. We have people calling us all the time either asking about fishing just because they saw it on TV. It was a national broadcasted tournament.”
The area’s popularity continued into the following month as well; the tourism office said for the first time in the organization’s history, it set a 6-digit revenue record for the month of April.
So far in 2021, Florence-Lauderdale Tourism has hosted 6 bass tournaments as well as the AHSAA North Regional Softball Tournament. The office said travel-related expenditures generate more than $5 million for The Shoals annually.