A Louisiana parish saw a big economic impact from its opportunity to host the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Prep Football Classic over a four-day period this past December.
Natchitoches, which was chosen to host the four-day “festival of high school football” Dec. 27-30, saw a $8.2 million economic impact from hosting the event.
The parish was chosen based on factors such as hotel capacity and restaurant availability, among other factors. The event was held at Northwestern State University’s Turpin Stadium.
The numbers were tallied by Northwestern State Health and Human Performance professor Dr. Michael Moulton in collaboration with the Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“First and foremost, hosting the Prep Classic at NSU and in Natchitoches provided a service to the state of Louisiana and the LHSAA by playing the state championship football games in a safe environment for teams and fans alike,” NSU director of athletics Greg Burke told the local ABC affiliate.
“At the same time, the impact the Prep Classic had on the local business community and downtown historic district provided a much-needed boost for the local economy and was another example of NSU’s value to the city and surrounding region. The charm of our historic city and beautiful campus was on full display for that four- to five-day period, and the soft-dollar value of that is immeasurable and will pay dividends well into the future.”
Attendance for the event hit an overall total of 22,564 fans, with about 2,500 spectators at each event.
Natchitoches, which had already suffered an economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was grateful for the event.
“Having the LHSAA Championship games in Natchitoches over several days during the holiday season was a tremendous opportunity for the Natchitoches business community and for the teams that competed,” Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Arlene Gould said. “I sincerely hope that the players, coaches and families who visited will remember their time spent here and come back in the future to spend more time to see all that Natchitoches has to offer.”