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Soccer pumps $900K into Manteca economy
Woodward Park isnt only used for Manteca Area Soccer League play such as this game in April between the Under-8 girls Blazing Butterflies and Pumas. It also hosts major youth tournaments that pump considerable money into the Manteca economy. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• The Manteca Visitors Center – started to promote tourism such as recreational sports events – has a logo that incorporates the importance of Hook (Fishing, outdoor sports and Bass Pro), Wine (wineries and agri-tourism) & Sneakers (recreational sports) to the local economy.

The Manteca economy gets a big kick start every time the Manteca Futbol Club hosts a major soccer tournament.

The last big event – the Spring Invitational April 27-28 – drew 184 teams from California, 12 from Nevada, one from Idaho and one from North Dakota. They played on 27 fields with the main fields being at Woodward Park.

When all is said and done, the 6,000 daily visitors to Manteca helped pump up the Manetas economy by a conservative $900,000.

That’s the conclusion City Manger Karen McLaughlin came up with after researching the impact of recreation sports tourism on Manteca. Actually, the state uses a much higher per day expenditure for such tourism - $150 - than the $75 McLaughlin used for tabulating the money spent per person on lodging, food, gas, and other sales in stores and at venues such as the Manteca Strikezone bowling alley.

It was part of a report Councilman Vince Hernandez requested to see what positive economic impacts the soccer tournaments that the organization stages have on the Manteca economy.

Manteca has made a major effort to secure tourism dollars connected with recreation pursuits such as through Bass Pro Shops, Big League Dreams, Speckels BMX Park, and soccer. Exploring the possibility of a 400-room Great Wolf Resort with a 70,000-square-foot indoor water park plus conference center and an adjoining family entertainment zone is also part of the strategy.

Manteca Visitors Center CEO Juliene Flanders explained to the council that her organization works closely with those staging the tournaments to get guest information in the hands of visitors that range from coupons to restaurants and other venues to information on what to do and see in the Manteca area.

She said it is all part of an effort to get the visitors to spend money in Manteca during the time they are not at the soccer tournament.

Flanders said she will contact restaurants working with the Manteca a Visitors Center to  alert them to tournaments so they can gear up to bring in additional staff and have more stock on hand.

Togo’s on South Main Street and Chili’s at the Stadium Retail Center were among those reporting a significant jump in business the weekend of the tournament.

Subway and Red Robin in the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley, as an example, told city officials their business doubled that weekend.

There were 292 rooms filled at Manteca hotels due directly to the tournament resulting in $52,516 in revenue to the businesses and $4,200 in room taxes to the city.

Of those, 98 percent of the 101 rooms at the Best Western were booked for the soccer tournament.

Dave Hastings of the Manteca Futbol Club noted that there was a big over flow that helped fill hotel rooms in Stockton , Modesto, and Tracy because no rooms were available in Manteca.

It took 140 paid referees - mostly from Manteca plus others from Tracy - and 110 volunteers to stage the tournament.

Hernandez also noted that club directors have people who scout the park and nearby streets to collect litter. He added that he was told that the next time around when there is wind connected with the tournament they will police streets farther away from  the parks in  search of litter.