County dollars to make Madison big-time sports draw - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

County dollars to make Madison big-time sports draw


Madison (WKOW) -- More than $200,000 in Dane County funds are being committed to helping to establish the Madison area as a sports event destination.

   But even backers of using taxpayer money to cash-in on sports venue revenue are scaling back.

   County money is being used for marketing and refurbishing area sports venues.

   Backers say events such as the Ironman in Madison have proven sports can multipy dollars for area businesses.   Representatives of the Greater Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau estimate Ironman means more than $2 million in revenue for the area.

   The 2008 county budget supplements by $100,000 what the city of Madison is spending on the structure of 1920's era Breese Stevens Field.

   Officials say the county money is for the little things in a big project:   a locker room paint job;  a new stadium press box.

   Right now, Breese Stevens primarily hosts low revenue producing, regular season high school soccer matches.

   But officials say with improvements, Breese Stevens could contend to swipe the lucrative state high school soccer tournament from the Milwaukee area.

   "There'll be some things they will be working on with this grant fund, with the press box, the locker rooms,"   convention and visitors bureau representative Krista Flanagan told 27 News.  

   "There's still some work that needs to be done on the field, but it gets us closer to that place."

   After allotting $100,00 for capital improvements and $40,000 more to assist in marketing the Madison area as a sports venue destination,  Flanagan says the county has cut back to $75,000 in 2009.

   2008 was the first year county money was used for a sports venue development fund.

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