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NCAA Division I Cross Country National Championships expected to bring economic boost to Leon County

Millions in direct-spending expected this weekend
Posted at 10:36 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 15:52:27-05

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — The NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country National Championships are poised to bring a big boost to the local economy this weekend.

More than 1,000 athletes and coaches and 7,500 spectators will equate to over $2.5 million in direct spending at local hotels, restaurants and businesses in Leon County. The championships are all happening at Apalachee Regional Park. The park underwent a $2 million renovation project to make improvements that included a new award stage, operations center and finish line, all to make Leon County a major hub for cross country events.

Local leaders, business owners and community members are excited about what this race can do for the local area. ABC 27 spoke to Arianna Perez, the Front of House Manager at Bumpa's, who said this weekend could bring over $30,000 to the restaurant.

"I think it will be good exposure for us and I think we'll get a lot more business than usual I think it will be great for not only just the front of the house but the restaurant as a whole," said Perez.

The championships will also be nationally televised on ESPNU, which local leaders hope will show off what Leon County has to offer for hosting future sporting events.

Looking ahead, Leon County Parks and Recreation said they're working on placing a bid for the 2026 Cross Country World Championships to really put the community on the map.

The NCAA Division I Cross Country National Championships are happening this Saturday. Gates open at 8 a.m. The first race starts at 10:20 a.m.