New CSU-Pueblo Athletics Programs bring significant economic impact to community
PUEBLO – When Colorado State University-Pueblo hosts the 2012 NCAA Division II National Track and Field Championships at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl this week, it will conclude a series of three athletic competitions that has brought more than $3.5 million in economic benefits to the Southern Colorado region.
Last Friday, the City of Pueblo learned that Colorado's Economic Development Commission approved funding for its proposal to bring new tourists to the state using a strategy also focusing on competitive events. Pueblo will receive $14.8 million over 30 years for PBR (Professional Bull Riders) University, a riverwalk entertainment district, and an expanded convention center.
As the host school, CSU-Pueblo and the City of Pueblo will play host to student-athletes from NCAA Division II colleges and universities throughout the nation. More than 600 athletes will descend on CSU-Pueblo campus May 24-26 from as far away as Alaska-Anchorage in the West to Southern Connecticut State in the Northeast to Alabama-Huntsville in the South and all points in between. That doesn’t include another 200 coaches, administrators, and officials, plus the family and friends who will come to cheer. Representation will be strong from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in which CSU-Pueblo competes as Adams State and Western State are likely contenders for this year’s national championship.
CSU-Pueblo will be represented by All-American Danita Wyatt, Aurora, who boasts the nation’s fifth best mark in the triple jump.
The result will be a great economic boon to the community, as area hotels and restaurants are expected to receive major benefits from the event.
"It appears that the NCAA Division II Track Championship will have a $1.7 to $2 million dollar impact on Pueblo," said Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce President Rod Slyhoff. "This is a great event for Pueblo and arrives at a great time of year. We have 2,200 hotel rooms and will be able to house all of the athletes plus administrators and officials as well as athletes' family members.”
This will be the third NCAA Championship event hosted by CSU-Pueblo this year (football playoff in November, wrestling championships in March, and now Track). All three championship events are hosted by sports that didn’t exist at CSU-Pueblo in 2007, as each program was re-started in 2008-09.
The economic impact of the Track Championships, along with the economic impact of the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships in March ($1 million) and the NCAA Division II playoff football game in November ($500,000), each hosted by CSU-Pueblo, brings the total economic impact from NCAA Championship events near $3.5 million, according to Director of Athletics Joe Folda, who spearheaded the effort to bid on the track and wrestling championships.
“We jumped at the opportunity to host these championship events and show off Pueblo as an NCAA Division II destination,” Folda said. “It has been a real team effort, from the athletic department to the University to the Chamber of Commerce and the community of Pueblo. It is our goal to put on an event that does the University and the community proud.”
“Hosting these championship events allows the nation to see what a well-rounded regional comprehensive University we are,” said President Lesley Di Mare. “We not only have outstanding professional programs, but we excel in music, art, the languages, and have a successful athletics program as well.”
When CSU-Pueblo was granted permission to reinstate football, wrestling, and women’s track and field in 2007, it was understood that the school would begin competition in one short year -- the 2008-09 school year. Not only were those connected going to build a 6,500-seat stadium, complete with synthetic turf, an all-weather track, a field house, and luxury suites, they were going to get the ThunderWolves in a new stadium for its first football game on Sept. 6, 2008. The nonprofit entity called Friends of Football, led by former football player and athletic director Dan DeRose, raised nearly $11 million to reinstate the sports, build a stadium, as well as reinstitute a marching band.
The hospitality won’t end with the 2012 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships. CSU-Pueblo will become the first school to host the Track and Field Championships in back-to-back years since Southern Illinois-Edwardsville hosted in1997 and 1998, when the Track and Field Championships return to Pueblo May 23-25, 2013.
Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.