National Soccer Festival Provides Boost to Local Economy

By Scott Sarvay
By Max Resnik

August 16, 2012 Updated Aug 16, 2012 at 6:07 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Visit Fort Wayne estimates the Shindigz National Soccer Festival will provide an immediate $200,000 economic impact.

In all, 12 collegiate clubs, 30 boys and girls high school soccer teams, traveling teams and Chivas, Guadalajara, a professional team from Mexico, will take the pitch between Thursday and Saturday nights.

Kristen Guthrie, Visit Fort Wayne’s marketing manager, says the money being spent over the weekend is “new” money. Guthrie defines new money as money that otherwise would not have been spent in Fort Wayne this weekend.

"Of course residents can enjoy these great events, but they bring a lot of new people, new spending here and great attention to our community."

This is the 13th consecutive year the National Soccer Festival has been hosted by the Summit City. Its director, Mike Roeth, says Fort Wayne excels when putting on events of this magnitude.

"I think it stayed here just because the thing that we can put on. It's a good festival that's a lot of fun. Teams feel comfortable coming here. They love being here. The public supports it."

Roeth says securing Chivas as a featured team, one that is viewed as the Dallas Cowboys or New York Yankees of Mexican professional soccer, provides an aspect to the event that has never before been experienced. Chivas, who will play Notre Dame and Indiana University over the three day event, is both the first international and professional team at the festival.

"We just keep improving it all the time. You know, things can get stale. Not this festival. This festival doesn't get stale. We had the entire Big Ten a couple years ago. Last year was about really incredibly top notch talent with five of the final eight in the prior year in the NCAAs and so this year with Chivas coming," says Roeth.

Fort Wayne also figures to see some benefits on the national scene when the Fox Soccer Channel will provide a nationally televised broadcast of the match between Chivas, Guadalajara and Indiana University, Saturday night at 7 p.m. Guthrie says Fort Wayne is being given a unique chance to shine in the national spotlight.

"They're going to be interviewing some Fort Wayne people during the game to talk about our community and why the community would host an event this big and all the attention it's bringing, so we're very excited."

On the soccer side, Roeth says this is college season warm up for the 12 collegiate teams in various matches over the weekend as well as Fox Soccer Channel.

“It’s the first game of the Fox Soccer Channel college season. So you know, the soccer season actually starts in a couple of weeks. This is a preseason tournament that we do here. They're all gearing up for the season and so is Fox in being able to televise so that's a big deal."

Roeth says local and national food and beer vendors will line the alley between soccer fields. Soccer vendors with apparel will be there as well.

Tickets are available at IPFW, Walgreens and Conolly's Do It Best locations.

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