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Expect to see more sporting events in Central Wisconsin, say tourism officials


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Officials from the Central Wisconsin Sports Authority say efforts to improve the local economy are taking root.

Sports Authority sales director Richard Barrett says the Badger State Games are bringing in people from around the Midwest, especially for new sports like the Fat Tire Race. "Three people drove up from St Louis Missouri to participate in that event. This past weekend I think we had a person from Ohio come up to snowboard."

It's that travel they're aiming for, and hoping to bring in people to the area, say Barrett. "Just like when we ran the Wausau Marathon, we had 10 states represented. I mean that's phenomenal. The whole goal is to offer something the other states don't offer so that they can participate, that opens up the gates to bring in more events and more people."

Barrett says the Sports Authority is changing the way the region can market itself to athletes. "We have all the local clubs being sponsored like the ESA Softball. That's one of our largest events a year which is bringing $2.7 Million to the local community."

And Barrett say the more successful the events, the more events the group can support. "Every year the contribution we have to make to keep the games going is less and less. So in other words, we're bringing the games back to profitability, bringing the people into wausau, and bringing the dollars we have available into the local clubs and the local facilities."

The Badger State Games will finish up this weekend across Central Wisconsin.