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Was the 2011 C-USA Tournament a Financial Success?

Memphis Champs
The Memphis Tigers may have won the 2011 C-USA Tournament, but the city of El Paso was the real winner. Photo by Steve Kaplowitz

For many El Pasoans the tournament was an abject failure because UTEP fell to the Memphis in the final.  We are over a month removed from the event and the financial reconciliation for the tournament has been completed. Fans and the media were curious how El Paso would respond to the tournament, and would use this event to gauge if El Paso could land another tournament in the future.

This information is courtesy of an email from UTEP’s associate AD for media relations, Jeff Darby.

‘A joint resolution signed by the El Paso Sports Commission, the County of El Paso, the City of El Paso, the El Paso Convention and Visitors Bureau and the University of Texas at El Paso offered Conference USA a minimum $1 million guarantee in exchange for the opportunity to host the tournament.

After generating approximately $1.2 million in ticket revenue, $200,000 in various sponsorship revenues and some additional Glory Road Block Party revenue, the tournament netted $950,169.  As part of the aforementioned resolution, the El Paso Sports Commission agreed to cover up to the first $50,000 in shortfall.  Because the shortfall was less than $50,000, the City of El Paso and County of El Paso will not be responsible for funding any portion of the guarantee.

The tournament was a rousing success, producing an estimated economic impact of $3.5 million while providing three days of national television exposure for UTEP and the city of El Paso on CBS and CBS College Sports.’

The tournament is going back to Memphis in 2012, but this sets the tone for a return date to El Paso.  The groups that put up the million dollar were taking a huge risk knowing the cities track record supporting other events.  UTEP making a finals appearance helped immensely, but most of the evening session games were well attended.  Who knows if the tournament will ever return to El Paso, but the county, city, and sports commission will likely support any bid knowing the realized economic impact.

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