Officials tout economic effects of Greenbrier Classic

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS— In connection with the Greenbrier Classic, some numbers are easy. A field of 152 golfers on a par-70 course, whittled to four in an exciting playoff won by 25-year-old Danny Lee, who took home $1.2 million.

Numbers about the economic effect of the most recent week-long golf tournament, that includes two pro-ams, are not yet determined. But from economic development experts to tourism officials, the consensus is that effect of the Classic is “priceless.”

In 2011, a economic impact study of the first tournament showed an overall economic impact of more than $111 million.

The Greenbrier’s inaugural PGA tournament brought in spectators from 34 states for a total of 178,500 unique gate entries over the week, according to the study by GSP Consulting Corp. of Pittsburgh.

The study, “The Greenbrier Classic: Impacts and Opportunities,” said the week generated $2.5 million in tax revenue for West Virginia, with attendees spending $21 million on lodging, shopping, food, tickets, transportation and other entertainment.

Jeff Kmeic, The Greenbrier resort’s president and managing director, said this year’s tournament drew crowds of more than 20,000 a day over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and more than 13,000 for the mid-week pro-am tournament.

Concerts by The Band Perry and Keith Urban on July 1 and Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton on July 3 drew 24,000 and an “off the charts” 50,000 people, respectively…

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