Local economies ready for tennis and races

By Emily Luxen

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It's a busy sports weekend in the Birmingham area, and the events are expected to bring thousands of fans and big money to the local economy.

Officials at the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau said the NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway, and the Fed Cup Tennis

Tournament at the BJCC will bring more than $25 million to the local economy. This news comes despite lower than expected ticket sales.

NASCAR fans came from places like Mississippi, Indiana and Maryland, and even Canada to enjoy the big race. Officials at the Talladega Superspeedway say that is part of the reason this event is so unique. It brings such a boost to the local economy.

"Normally we sell tickets in 50 states and half a dozen foreign countries," said the chairman of Talladega Superspeedway, Grant Lynch. "About 74% of people come from out of state. The economic impact of our event is huge on the fact we have these people and they stay so long."

NASCAR fans that are not camping out, will fill area hotels and eat in local restaurants just like tennis fans in Birmingham for the Fed Cup. Officials at the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau said both events not only bring money to the local economy, but priceless exposure.

"Every time we get an opportunity to showcase Birmingham in a world setting, it is great for the city," said Michael Gunn, "It gives us an opportunity to bring people here that would never come to the city before, and opens doors for more opportunities and more sporting events."

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