TULSA, Okla — All the excitement and energy from Sunday's event is a sign Tulsa's economy is rebounding.
Event organizers said our city exceeded the expectations of athletes and other attendees. Organizers told 2 News this event could not have come at a more perfect time as Tulsa emerges bigger and better after then pandemic.
The Piedmontese Certified North American IRONMAN Championship event brought nearly $14 million to the area.
Ray Hoyt, the president of Tulsa Regional Tourism, said Sunday's sporting event is a much needed boost for Tulsa, following 80% in losses caused by the pandemic.
“Coming out of the pandemic, it’s really important to get that money back into the community — the restaurants, the hotels, retail, all the things that happen around this event," Hoyt said.
Tourism is the third largest industry in the Sooner State, and a 1.7 billion dollar industry in the Tulsa metro area. Hoyt said the sales tax raised from event this weekend will help support police, fire, and the general tax fund.
“We want those 10 million visitors to come back and this is a great way to really kick that off," Hoyt said.
The city contracted with the IRONMAN group to host the race in the next two years and is hoping to renew it for more years to come.
“Why not Tulsa? It’s got a rich endurance community, you have the Tulsa Tough, the Tulsa Marathon, and this just makes sense to add that into that portfolio of events." Scott Langen said. "It’s got something unique that our athletes don’t have at every event within the IRONMAN circuit..you’ve got a great downtown, also nightlife, so therefore it gives some of the spectators and the families some more things to do and more opportunities to experience the town.”
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