Athletic events continue to have a major influence on Mobile’s local economy. Thanks to the work of the Mobile Sports Authority, a total of 35 events generated an estimated $25,592,016 during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
“With the tremendous support of Mobile County, the city of Mobile and a very engaged board of trustees, we at the Mobile Sports Authority are proud that we were able to generate such a significant impact for the Mobile-area economy,” said Danny Corte, MSA executive director.
“Since October 2011, the MSA has attracted, hosted, managed or co-managed 130 sporting events which have generated an estimated $91 million for Mobile County. The future looks just as bright as we continue to tell our story about our beautiful area to numerous regional and national sports event owners who are looking for places to play.”
The number of events set a record for MSA. Competitors and their followers came to Mobile County for 24 different sports, including tennis, bass fishing, pole vaulting and gymnastics.
The event with the biggest return was new this year. The 5th Quarter Classic was a football game that attracted more than 19,000 fans to Ladd-Peebles Stadium for a showdown between Tuskegee and Florida A&M. Other festivities connected to the game were motivational talks for high school seniors, a college fair, a theater show put on by Florida A&M, alumni festivities and a Mardi Gras-style parade.
The estimated economic impact over those five days was $6,480,000. Susan Shaw, MSA’s director of sports events and marketing, also pointed out this event brought in more than $2 million in scholarship offers to Mobile-area youth from various colleges and universities.
The fiscal year started off with a bang in October 2015 with the inaugural Alabama Spartan Super Race. Corte said this was MSA’s largest turnout or participants, as more than 4,100 competitors hit the extreme obstacle course in Saraland. The estimated financial impact was $2,047,888. The latest Spartan race was last weekend, with officials anticipating close to 5,000 entries.
Other events surpassing the million-dollar mark were the 37th annual Battleship Invitational Rugby Tournament ($1,081,000), 15th annual Servis 1st Bank First Light Marathon ($1,121,600), USA Volleyball Gulf Coast Region Championships ($1,528,320), 24th annual Mobile Challenge of Champions track and field meet ($1,683,968), the first-ever Cal Ripken 8U Southwest Regional Baseball Tournament ($1,921,920) and the inaugural NASCAR Mobile 150 ($1,984,000).
“Our racers, race fans and community take a great deal of pride in our Spring Race at Mobile International Speedway,” race promoter Tommy Praytor said. “With the Mobile Sports Authority’s help, we were able to bring NASCAR back to Mobile for the first time since the ’50s. We are happy to be a part of their record year.”
These figures represent the best annual results ever reported by either the MSA or its predecessor organization, the Mobile Area Sports Commission. Fiscal year 2015 held the previous record with 32 sporting events and an estimated economic impact to the area of $20.7 million.
The MSA is a nonprofit sports commission formed in 2008 by the Mobile County Commission. The main mission is to create a positive economic and public relations impact through supporting sporting events that attract visitors to the area. Visit www.MobileSportsAuthority.com to see a list of all 35 events and their impact.
Everett invited to Senior Bowl
It’s been an outstanding season for the University of South Alabama’s Gerald Everett. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior ranks second nationally among tight ends, with nearly 71 yards per game and is among the leaders with more than 4.5 catches per game. Everett has now been named as a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award, which goes to the nation’s top tight end and will be announced Dec. 7 on ESPNU.
Everett has also accepted an invitation to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl, which begins at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 28. He is the fifth Jaguar asked to appear in Mobile’s postseason all-star game and among the first dozen players announced by Phil Savage, Senior Bowl executive director.
Others on the roster are: Toby Baker, Arkansas punter; Amba Etta-Tawo, Syracuse wide receiver; Nate Gerry, Nebraska defensive back; Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington wide receiver; Jordan Morgan, Kutztown offensive guard; Taylor Moton, Western Michigan offensive guard; Sam Rogers, Virginia Tech fullback; Seth Russell, Baylor quarterback; Ryan Switzer, North Carolina wide receiver; Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky wide receiver; and David Webb, California quarterback.
● Spring Hill College placed a league-leading five players on the All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference volleyball team. Anna Tietjens led the way, being named Setter of the Year after leading the SIAC with 752 assists.
Joining her on the first-team unit were outside hitters Madison Seuzeneau and Sarah Senft. Outside hitter Molly Griffin and middle blocker Savannah Becnel earned spots on the second-team roster.
In their final year of the NCAA Division II transition process, the Badgers finished the season with a 27-5 overall record and a perfect 18-0 mark in the SIAC.
● Eight current and former players from the University of South Alabama softball program were named All-American Scholar-Athletes by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Those honored include Alex Breeden, Devin Brown, Kristina Foster, Dayla Gulledge, Savanna Mayo, Emily Messer, Amanda Minahan and Kaleigh Todd.
Players must have a GPA of at least a 3.5 to qualify. As a team, USA had a GPA of 3.289.
● The men and women’s bowling teams for Spring Hill turned in great performances at the Baker Shootout hosted by the Savannah College of Art & Design and the University of Florida. The Badgers won their division after knocking off Florida State in the men’s final. The Lady Badgers finished third after falling to Emmanuel in the semifinals.
● Laura Labuschaigne, Ashley Heitling and Katleho Dyoyi each earned all-league honors after finishing among the top five at the Sun Belt Conference’s cross country championships at Troy University’s Dothan campus. The USA women were unable to defend their team title, finishing third behind Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina. The USA men finished fifth led by Dyoyi, who was competing in his first meet since the season opener.