The USA Track and Field organization announced that Sacramento will host the US Track and Field National Outdoor Championships scheduled for June 26-29, 2014.
Mayor Kevin Johnson said it means more to Sacramento than a national sports event.
“It’s about economic development, it’s about jobs,” said Johnson.
Steve Hammond, who heads the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau and it’s affiliate the Sacramento Sports Commissionm said they will rebuild Sac State University’s track to make it one of the best in the world. It will cost $1.2 million, but Hammond said area the bureau and an assessment district composed mostly of hotels will foot the bill.
“We hope, because of the new track, we’re hoping to bring a variety of track and field events back to Sacramento on an annual basis,” said Hammond.
He said ticket sales and food and souvenir concessions will bring in a profit. Sac State is a partner in the five-year deal in which the university will provide its stadium for track events and take advantage of the new track for its own athletes.
USA Track official Jim Estes said Sacramento had a long history of hosting prestigious track and field events, including the Olympic trials in 2000 and 2004. He also said Sacramento has always drawn fans to high-profile track meets and proved it again during the televised World Track Championships in Moscow.
“Sacramento was one of the highest rated TV markets in terms of viewership, if not the highest,” said Estes.
He said a successful meet will open the door for other national meets sponsored by the USA Track and Field organization.
City officials said they are not putting out any money in the deal. A previous version of the Sports Commission, now disbanded, failed to repay a $400,000 city loan after bringing in the World Masters Track and Field Championship to Sac State two years ago.
City Manager John Shirey says the more high-profile US Track and Field Championship will bring in thousands of visitors and will be a plus for the local economy — as well as the city budget.
“They eat at our restaurants, they stay at our hotels and that will bring tax revenues to us,” said Shirey.