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Clarkson Business School to study bass tourney’s economic impact

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WADDINGTON — The St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Clarkson School of Business to determine what impact the upcoming Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament will have on St. Lawrence County’s economy.

The fishing tournament, which opens here Thursday, draws 100 of the world’s best anglers together in competition, and is expected to bring in over 10,000 visitors. In addition, more than 100 vendors will set up for the Tastes & Talents of the North Country Festival that will run simultaneously with the tournament, St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce events and promotions manager Jo Ann Roberts said. A list of events can be found at northcountrybass.com.

Organizers for the tournament have collected over $200,000, including a $75,000 contribution from the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators, to host the event. And the chamber wants to assure the public their investment has been worthwhile.

“When we went to the county legislature, one of the questions that was asked was ‘how do we know we are spending our taxpayers’ dollars in good faith?’” Chamber CEO Patricia L. McKeown said. “The only way to determine that is to find out the impact with hard data.”

Eight international graduate students from the Clarkson School of Business will collect and analyze data relating to the effects the tournament will have on the economy.

“These students just arrived on campus for their pre-orientation,” Business School Dean Dayle M. Smith said. “It’s a win-win. This gives the students a great opportunity to learn about the community in which they will spend the next few years. I am particularly excited for them to use their skill set in economic analysis. Clarkson is very committed to creating business leaders who can contribute to their communities. You couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to demonstrate that.”

Students will use a report on the 2005 World Carp Tournament, which brought over 270 visitors to area, as a template. In addition to local businesses, the students will survey spectators, asking them questions about where they are from, their income range, where they stayed, ate and if they would come back.

“There is a difference between analytical and anecdotal data,” Ms. McKeown said. “We can ask businesses if they did well, but what does that mean? Does that mean you netted an additional few dollars or a few hundred dollars? This study will ask that.”

The business school also will collect sales and bed tax data from the last three years from the county Treasurer’s Office for comparison purposes. The county Planning Office will provide maps and demographics to the students, Planner John F. Tenbusch said.

“The bass tournament is the largest event that’s been held in St. Lawrence County in the last 20 years that I have been here,” Mr. Tenbusch said. “We know that a bucket of money will be spent here, but we would like to know how big that bucket is going to be. We also want to know if this is a good thing to do in terms of investment and coordinating future events. This will help the county chamber determine that.”

The students’ findings will be presented and distributed in bound-book form on Nov. 1.

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