Bryan Multi-Sports Complex Generates $1.5M In Visitor Spending In 2020

2020 NC LaxFest at Bryan Multi-Sports Complex. (Photo Credit: Visit Goldsboro)

Bryan Multi-Sports Complex Generates $1.5M In Visitor Spending In 2020

Visit Goldsboro, the travel and tourism department for the City of Goldsboro and Wayne County, has published an economic impact report on the 2020 calendar year of Bryan Multi-Sports Complex in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Normally, the purpose of this annual report is to determine and track how the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex impacts the Wayne County economy by generating new revenue from visitor expenditures related to an event at the sports venue. Due to the pandemic, 2020 was a devastating year for sports travel, as travel and tourism was one of the hardest hit sectors of the economy across the world. While this report documents the economic impact of the sports complex, the report will also show how the coronavirus significantly affected the complex’s performance in 2020 and will serve as a benchmark for Wayne County’s recovering visitor economy. Click here to read the full report.

Despite the drop in sporting events taking place last year, sports tourists still spent an estimated $1,534,509 in 2020 during their trips to Goldsboro-Wayne County for events at the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex. Visitors spent money on lodging, dining, entertainment, gas, and retail, which translated into $103,579 of estimated sales tax generation and $7,437 of hotel occupancy taxes. This is a 60% decrease in economic impact, when compared to 2019’s figures. The sports complex hosted 145 event days, which is 50% less than the 236 event days held in 2019.

“Our numbers are down for 2020, and that was to be expected with COVID-19,” said Felicia Brown, parks & recreation director for the City of Goldsboro. “Our ability to successfully host events during this time speaks to the professionalism and dedication of our staff and their focus to provide a safe playing environment. We are looking forward to increasing our events in 2021 at our Bryan Multi-Sports Complex.”

The report is based on data collected from multiple sources, including the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex’s internal reports for events in 2020, Goldsboro-Wayne County Travel and Tourism market research, Visit NC’s Visitor Profile Study, and Sports ETA’s Sports Tourism Industry Report. Additionally, the Travel and Tourism Department collaborated with local hotels to document actualized room nights based on events held at the venue to ensure the data was as robust as possible.

The Bryan Multi Sports complex opened April 23, 2018. Dubbed one of the most unique sports complexes in the country, Connect Sports ranked the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex as one of the top soccer facilities in the U.S. in its September 2018 magazine article. Read the full article here. Five days after the grand opening, the City of Goldsboro and Wayne County United Soccer Club co-hosted the North Carolina Youth Soccer Association (NCYSA) Kepner President’s State Cup, which brought in thousands of visitors from across the state. The success of this tournament led to a continued partnership between the City, Wayne County United Soccer, and NC Youth Soccer that has brought countless state and national soccer tournaments to the complex, as well as the attention of other national sports organizations, like U.S. Quidditch, to bring their tournaments to the Goldsboro venue.

While the complex experienced a decrease in tournaments last year, a silver lining was the decision of Raleigh LaxFest, formerly branded as NC LaxFest, to relocate their boys youth lacrosse tournament to Goldsboro. Raleigh LaxFest has been recognized as the second largest youth lacrosse event in the state. With only three weeks to plan, Goldsboro Parks & Rec and Visit Goldsboro worked around the clock with the LaxFest directors to ensure a safe and successful tournament for the nearly 6,000 visitors. The lacrosse event brought 108 teams from as far away as Colorado into Wayne County for the three-day tournament weekend in November 2020 causing over $900,000 worth of visitor expenditures at area businesses. The success of the event has led to Goldsboro being the new home for the NC LaxFest. The girls LaxFest tournament is scheduled for the weekend of October 23, and the boys tournament is scheduled for the November 13 weekend. 

“Despite numerous shutdowns and mandates, the 2021 outlook looks strong having already hosted one multi-day tournament and three more scheduled for the fall,” said Trey Meek, manager of the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex. “As a staff, we will continue to chase every lead and interest in hosting an event here and continue to place the complex in a position to host highly regarded tournaments that meet the city and county’s vision.”

The report released by Visit Goldsboro also gives some deeper insight as to how the complex benefits Wayne County tourism. It reveals that out of the 145 event days, approximately 13 events held at the sports venue generated overnight stays in Wayne County. Of the 55,000 patrons that visited the venue, roughly 13,016 of those patrons traveled from outside Wayne County and 3,432 visitors spent the night. The study estimates that just over 1,100 hotel room nights stemmed from activity at the sports complex in 2020. The average cost for a hotel stay in Wayne County’s top rated hotels was $97.50 in 2020, and travel parties spent an average of $781 per overnight trip and $217 for a day trip.

“The report proves that sports tourism has become a critical piece of our economy. While many sports venues remained closed last year due to the pandemic, the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex was able to safely reopen by the summer using guidance outlined by NCDHHS and NCHSAA for youth sports,” said Ashlin Glatthar, director of travel & tourism for Goldsboro-Wayne County. “Having proved to successfully host large sporting events during these times, the sports complex will be an important tool on our road to recovery, as we continue recruiting new events to our market.”  

Commenting on the success of the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex, Randy Guthrie, Goldsboro assistant city manager, said “it’s all thanks to the persistent efforts of Seymour Johnson AFB, the U.S. Air Force, and the generous sponsors, such as the Bryan Foundation and Southern Bank. With their help, Goldsboro continues on its course towards economic growth and improved quality of life.”

Located on 63 acres of Seymour Johnson AFB at 501 South Oak Forest Road, the complex was built with the intent of growing the local tourism economy and enhancing the quality of life throughout the region. A product of the first joint P4 partnerships between a military base and its home community, the City of Goldsboro and Seymour Johnson AFB began this pilot project to share resources and reach common goals. The project set new precedence for how military installations can work with their host community, and furthermore, the successful performance of the complex outlined in the economic impact report proves that this collaborative model strengthens a community.

Current amenities of the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex include eight all-weather playing fields—six irrigated natural Bermuda hybrid and two artificial turf fields all installed on engineered soils.  Additional amenities include a cutting edge fieldhouse with meeting space and concessions, premium restroom facilities, walking trails, over 700 parking spots, and a retired F-4E Phantom on static display welcoming visitors to the site. Currently, a custom splash pad and sheltered picnic areas are under construction and expected to be complete by the end of September 2021.

To read more about the economic impact study, visit:

2020 NC LaxFest at Bryan Multi-Sports Complex. (Photo Credit: Visit Goldsboro)