State track meet makes a nearly $4 million economic impact

Image of the outside of the Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex with people walking. About 3,000 high school track and field athletes from around the state will descend on UW-L’s Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex Friday-Saturday, June 6-7, for the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association state track meet.

The event is anticipated to bring about 19,000 spectators over the two-day event.

Athletes and fans eat, sleep, shop and more, providing a nearly $4 million economic impact annually to the La Crosse area. Last year’s event brought a total of about 23,800 people to the area with a total estimated economic impact of about $3.9 million, according to the La Crosse Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The event also draws volunteers from the UW-L campus and La Crosse community. About 600 volunteers have signed up to help with this year’s meet.

“UW-L and the La Crosse area community has people who take pride in this event and are always willing to help in any way,” says Josh Buchholtz, on-site coordinator of the meet and UW-L men’s track and field coach.

Buchholz cites volunteers are one of the many attractions for hosting the state meet annually at UW-L. In addition, UW-L has a logistic set-up that cannot be matched by other Wisconsin venues, he says.

UW-L’s Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex with its 10-lane track, multiple field event venues, ample spectator seating, nearby indoor track in Mitchell Hall, residence halls and on-campus parking, has the capacity to hold such a large event and provide athletes and fans the amenities they need. Also, the City of La Crosse and surrounding communities can accommodate the influx of people attending the meet from the hotel and dining perspective, says Buchholtz

Currently, UW-L holds a year-to-year contact with WIAA to host the meet, but the university is in negotiations with WIAA for a longer-term commitment, notes Buchholtz.

“The hope is to come to an agreement that is beneficial for the WIAA, UW-L and La Crosse community and would promote a progressive future of this great event,” he says.

Learn more on the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association website.