Coming off one of the most lucrative summers in sports tourism history after hosting the World Athletics Championships last year, this year’s lineup of just one-off regional and national events (no annual recurring events) promises to deliver another outstanding summer of economic impact from sporting events in Lane County. 

The Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission utilizes Destination International’s Event Impact Calculator (EIC) to estimate the economic impact of events. After customization with destination-specific data, the EIC provides a complete report on all facets of economic impact, including lodging, transportation, food and beverage, retail, recreation, space rental and business services. 

While far from the total value of all sporting events being hosted in the region this year, the value of just these regional and national events’ estimated economic impact (EEI) is over $21 million dollars in direct spend.

Pac-12 Rowing Championships

May 4
Dexter Reservoir, Lowell
EEI: $166,993

PAC-12 Rowing at Dexter

PAC-12 Rowing Championships at Dexter

The charming town of Lowell, Oregon has just hosted the Pac-12 Rowing Championships on the morning of May 14th. Lowell State Park was the site of the competition for the second year in a row, building its reputation as a world-class rowing venue. The scenic view of the surrounding Willamette Valley, the nearby wooded landscape and the Lowell Covered Bridge made a beautiful backdrop for elite collegiate rowing. The competition was organized by a collaboration of efforts including the Pac-12, Oregon Association of Rowers (OAR), and many volunteers spent parts of their Mother's Day weekend enjoying a gorgeous sunny day at Dexter Reservoir. Although the University of Oregon lacks a Division I rowing program, that hasn’t stopped the Pac-12  from wanting to continue hosting their championship regatta in our neck of the woods.

USA BMX Lumberjack Nationals

May 19 - 21
Emerald Valley BMX, Eugene
EEI: $1,679,714

USA BMX LumberjackNats Race Start

2023 USA BMX Lumberjack Nationals

The following weekend, USA BMX and the local Emerald Valley BMX group hosted the 2023 Lumberjack Nationals. USA BMX hosts 28 National events across the country each year. This was the first USA BMX National event hosted at the Emerald Valley BMX track and is evidence of their hard work paying off as they have already hosted several USA BMX Gold Cup Northwest Regional Championships and state competitions. BMX riders from 15 states and Canada visited Eugene to participate in the event. Racers of all ages, from young striders to the old-timers, gave it their all and the Lumberjack mascot was busy wishing riders good luck and encouraging them to ride fast. Over the course of the weekend, the best of the BMX community was on display as 776 riders and over 3,250 attendees enjoyed a full weekend of exciting BMX racing. Chris Luna, Director of National Event Operations for USA BMX, said, "This event set the record for moto count and unique participation at an outdoor race in the Northwest with an amazing 203 motos on Saturday alone."

PDGA Tim Selinske US Masters Championships

May 25 - 28
Finals at Dexter Park Disc Golf Course, Lowell
EEI: $80,392

PDGA Tim Selinske US Masters Championships

PDGA Tim Selinske US Masters Championships

Over this four-day competition, world-class disc golfers in the Masters Division competed across four of the best disc golf courses in the Eugene, Cascades and Coast region. The Tim Selinske US Masters Championships were last held on the West Coast in 2016 in Stockton, CA. Last year's event in Illinois drew roughly 300 competitors while this year it capped out within a week at 450. High registration numbers allowed the PDGA to add an additional $70,000 in prize money raising the total to $125,000. This competition was organized by the strong disc golf community that exists in Eugene and the surrounding area including the Eugene DGC (Disc Golf Club), Stumptown DGC, Oakridge DGC and Florence DGC. The local organizing committee is composed of several experienced local disc golfers and tournament organizers who are committed to representing the Pacific Northwest. Athletes got to experience a wide variety of challenging open and wooded terrain on courses including the Circle Bar Golf Course in Oakridge, Camp Serene Disc Golf Course in Noti northeast of Eugene, Stewart Pond Disc Golf Course in Eugene, and Dexter Park Disc Golf Course in Dexter where the finals were played. 

NSAF Nike Outdoor Nationals

June 15 - 18
Hayward Field at the University of Oregon
EEI: $1,649,854

The National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF) will host the Nike Outdoor Nationals at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon for the third year. The best high school runners in the country will get to experience the magic of Hayward Field and the fanfare around TrackTown that can be found nowhere else. Nike is known for providing fantastic experiences for young athletes in their competitions, and with Hayward Field at the University of Oregon as the stage, these athletes are sure to put on a show! Taking place on Father's Day weekend, this is the first of many championship-level track and field meets to take place this summer, and one track meet sure to make many fathers proud of their high school athletes!

USRowing Northwest Masters Championships

June 23 - 25
Dexter Reservoir, Lowell
EEI: $847,943

USRowing Northwest Masters Regionals

USRowing Northwest Masters Regionals

For the first time, USRowing is bringing the Northwest Masters Regional Championships to Dexter Reservoir in 2023 and 2024. This elite rowing competition is one of the largest of its kind, expecting to bring over 1,100 rowers to the community. A typical USRowing regional event draws around 250-300 rowers. This strengthens Dexter Reservoirs’ reputation as a world-class rowing venue. As more events choose Dexter Reservoir as their venue, the work being done to bring fast-speed internet to the park proves to be invaluable. By partnering with local businesses and clubs, the community is ready to welcome rowers from across the country with open arms, ensuring that excitement for the following USRowing Northwest Masters Championships is even greater. 

USATF Outdoor Championships

July 6 - 9
Hayward Field at the University of Oregon
EEI: $8,790,875

USATF Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field 2022

USATF Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field 2022

For the third year in a row and the 11th time in U.S. championship meet history, the USATF (U.S.A. Track & Field) Outdoor Championships will be held in Eugene at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. In addition, the USATF U20 Championships will be taking place in conjunction with their senior counterparts. American athletes will be competing to qualify for the 2023 World Athletics Championships to take place in Budapest, Hungary and will be giving it their all!

USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships

July 24 - 30
Hayward Field at the University of Oregon
EEI: $5,187,290

Shortly following a fun weekend of modern-day American track and field stars, the Hayward faithful are sure to enjoy a week of the best American track and field stars of tomorrow. The USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships invites young athletes between the ages of seven to 18 to compete at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. This is the highest level of youth track and field in the country and will be held in Eugene for the first time since 2004.

Prefontaine Classic – Wanda Diamond League Final

September 16 - 17
Hayward Field at the University of Oregon
EIC: $2,652,288

2022 Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field University of Oregon

2022 Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field University of Oregon

The Prefontaine Classic is well known amongst Oregonians, a track meet named after one of the greatest American runners of all time, Steve “Pre” Prefontaine, a beloved cross country and track star who once said, “to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift”. This track meet honors the life of Pre as he passed in a tragic car accident at the age of 24 in 1975. This year, the Prefontaine Classic will be the home to the 48th edition of the World Athletics’ Wanda Diamond League Final, the first time the Diamond League Final will be hosted in the United States. The Diamond League is an annual series of professional track and field meets that are hosted all over the world. The Prefontaine Classic is normally held in May but has been moved to mid-September this year since it is the series finale. The meet will mark the end of another eventful track and field season in the Eugene, Cascades and Coast region.

Impact by Sector

The economic impact from sports tourism is felt across multiple business sectors. In the chart below that shows business sales by sector for the eight events, it indicates lodging will see the highest percentage of sales. It is worth noting that food and beverage and retail combine for 45% of the total estimated economic impact for the events. That means restaurants and retail businesses will see the most impact from visitor spending ($9,382,663). 

2023 Major Sports Events Business Sales by Sector

It All Adds Up to Big Wins

These eight national and regional sporting events will provide a huge impact to the Lane County economy. The slated track and field events alone are projected to bring over $18 million in direct spend. Just outside of the Eugene-Springfield metro area, communities like Lowell and Dexter see an impact from two large championship rowing events (Pac-12 Rowing Championships and USRowing Northwest Masters Regional Championships) that combine for over $1 million in EEI. Sports tourism continues to play a significant role in the county economy and in 2023 it all adds up to big wins!