Press release from Demp Bradford, Executive Director of the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission:
Seven years ago, the Gala Gymnastics event started in Asheville with 75 participants and just sessions of events. This year’s event has drawn a record number of participants and expanded to three complete days of competition at the US Cellular Center.
The 2018 Gala Gymnastics Event closed out registrations with a record number of participants (1,440). This does not include the coaches, parents and spectators who also attend the event. In looking at past trends, each gymnast is anticipated to bring an average of 2.5 people with them to watch them perform. The event has now grown to a three-day event running from 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm from Friday, January 5th running through Sunday, January 7th.
According to Demp Bradford, Executive Director of the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission, “we are truly excited to continue to help grow this event which brings gymnasts and their families from all over the Southeastern United States. We are working with the event organizers to continue to look for opportunities to expand this great event for the future.”
A conservative estimate has a direct spend of over $1.2 million added to the local economy and an overall total business spend of $2.1 million. “When we look at our sports calendar, the Gala Gymnastics Meet is a huge boost to our local economy on what is traditionally the first slower tourist weekend after the holiday season,” said Bradford. In 2017, over 1,000 participants battled a snow storm to still compete in the event.
The Gala Gymnastics event is another great example of the partnership between the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission, the Explore Asheville CVB and the US Cellular Center. “The US Cellular Center is the perfect building to host Gala Gymnastics. The floor space has allowed the competition to grow to two sets of equipment and there are ample spaces for awards presentations and the basic set-up of the event,” said Bradford “The Sports Commission and the US Cellular Center continue to host events together as part of a growing sports events portfolio in Asheville.” This is the third weekend out of the last four that the US Cellular Center has been used to host a sports event mixed in with a variety of concerts. The US Cellular Center is slated to host the Fed Cup Tennis Quarterfinals February 10-11 and then the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament March 1-5.
Gala Gymnastics By The Numbers:
Number of Participants- 1,440
Spectators Per Participant- 2.5
States Represented- 5 (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee
Volunteers utilized- 100 local and state volunteers
Direct Spending Estimate- $1.2 million
Total Business Spend related to the event – $2.1 million