Economic boost expected from bike race

Published 5:00 am Friday, April 18, 2008

This weekend’s Seventh Annual Mississippi Gran Prix will bringmore than just bicycles and athletes into Brookhaven.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield estimated the bikers and theiraccompanists may deposit in excess of $20,000 into city businessesbefore the event is over Sunday.

“The Mississippi Gran Prix brings a great economic benefit toBrookhaven and Lincoln County,” he said. “You have a large numberof riders and their companions and family members that will bestaying in hotels, eating in restaurants and visiting stores.”

Brumfield said city hotels would gather in the most revenue overthe course of the three-day event, followed by local businesses andrestaurants.

“If 135 people stayed in rooms that average $55 per night, we’retalking about almost $7,500 for one night,” Brumfield said. “If 250people eat out twice a day at around $6 per meal, that’s $3,000.And if just 50 people spend $100 shopping, that’s $5,000 for ourlocal businesses.”

Brumfield said his estimates are based on only the competingcyclists and their company, and the city will receive furthereconomic gain from the gran prix’s spectators. A large number ofspectators are expected to stay in Brookhaven over the weekend,making the total number of the city’s visitors anywhere between 600and 1,000, and the revenue left behind even higher.

“These people will also be frequenting area hospitalityestablishments and, hopefully, doing a little shopping whilethey’re here,” Brumfield said. “We’re probably looking at between a$20,000 and $25,000 hit for the county.”

The true number of Brookhaven’s visitors may be even more. Whilethe Mississippi Gran Prix has enjoyed success in the past, thisyear’s races have taken on a new meaning that organizer HumanPerformance Co. expects to make it the largest in the event’sseven-year history.

For the first time, the Mississippi Gran Prix has teamed up withthe Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children in Jackson and aims toraise around $100,000 to assist the hospital in renovations for apediatric emergency room. Event officials believe this charitablepairing will further increase the event’s popularity.

Just to make sure, Human Performance Co. has hired a marketingofficial to promote the event through the Mississippi Division ofTourism.

The promotion seems to be working.

“The chamber of commerce has received numerous calls asking fordirections and information about Brookhaven,” Brumfield said.

Brumfield is also hopeful that the gran prix will have lastingeffects for Brookhaven’s newcomers. He referred to the event as achance for the city to showcase itself to newcomers who may wish toreturn in the future.

“The Mississippi Gran Prix has become the foremost event of itskind in Mississippi and the surrounding states,” Brumfield said.”It’s a blessing for our community that its organizers have spentthe great amount of time they have in putting this event togetherand keeping it in Lincoln County. For a weekend in April rightafter tax season, this is a great blessing to our community.”