POSTED: Monday, June 13, 2011 - 5:55pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 3:12pm
EL PASO - It's no secret that the last women's USBC championship we hosted was an economic shot in the arm for El Paso. Now the city is bowling for a 2015 championship that could bring in even more money. But will our proximity to the border hurt our chances of winning the bid?
"Exceptionally large, and larger than the women's championship," said Bill Blaziek, general manager of the Convention & Visitor's Bureau, talking about the 2015 tournament. He admits he's aggressively pursuing a bid for the 2015 USBC Open Championship.
"With the women we had roughly 60,000 come to El Paso, and in the case of the open championship it'll be roughly 100,000," Blaziek said.
Men and women are eligible for the 3 and a half month-long 2015 USBC open. They will stay here, shop here, eat here - basically, spend money here.
"USBC numbers suggest that the total economic impact could approach $75 million," Blaziek said.
He estimates that last year's women's championship brought in $42 to $46 million. Of course, there's no way of knowing exactly how much money we saw, but Blaziek says it was a success nonetheless.
Now he's asked the county, city, and sports commission to fork over a combined $1.4 million to turn the Convention Center into a bowling alley for 2015.
"If we do our job right, as we did with the women, we'll disperse about 100,000 ambassadors for El Paso," Blaziek said.
But El Paso is competing with some big dogs for this tournament. So can we come out on top, despite some PR blunders, like the shots heard around the world that hit City Hall, and later a UTEP building?
"Well, it's definitely a concern for anyone that's going to accept a bid from El Paso but I think the mayor and city council in connection with other elected officials can certainly address that," said Mark Rosales.
"I think as long as we let everybody know we are one of the safest cities and not go by what some of the other people say we should be fine," said Ernie Rivera.
"We have a bad rep, but when you actually live here, and you don't conduct any business over there, you don't really feel it," said Yvette Martinez.
"I don't think we made any mistakes from the women's tournament, if anything I think we garnered a lot of respect," Blaziek added.
We won't know until the end of the summer if we won the bid. But Blaziek tells us they are on the heels of rolling out a new image campaign in the coming months, which could help attract more big events like this one.