The Magnolia Silo District Marathon planned for next month after a two-year hiatus is one of two events seeking incentives from local tourism entities for bringing overnight stays to Waco.
The Waco and the Heart of Texas Convention and Visitors Bureau commission last week voted to approve Magnolia’s request for $35,000 for support the event, scheduled for April 22-24. Magnolia is also seeking an unspecified amount from the new Tourism Public Improvement District board, which distributes funds from a surcharge on hotel stays.
The TPID board has already offered $35,000 to Prospects by Sports Illustrated, also called Pinnacle, a football and cheer competition for children’s teams between the ages of 6 and 10. Backed by the Greater Waco Sports Commission, Pinnacle is also seeking an additional $35,000 from the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Silo District Marathon launched in 2018 and brought in thousands of tourists that year and in 2019 before being canceled due the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
“It’s been a successful event in the past,” Interim Bureau Director Dan Quandt said.
Magnolia’s application estimates this year’s marathon will draw 3,500 participants and “many more” spectators.
Quandt said Magnolia plans to request more funding at the April 20 TPID board meeting, and the board will require documentation proving Magnolia reached the projected goals for bringing in tourists.
“The commission will look at what kind of activity will be generated, especially hotel activity, based on having those two events,” Quandt said. “It’s essentially the same with Pinnacle, it’s the impact they’re going to have bringing visitors to town.”
The TPID is funded and controlled by 28 hotels in Waco that have 75 or more rooms, including seven that have not yet opened. Members add a 2% hotel fee to collect funding, and the TPID’s board of directors vote on how to spend it.
The Texas Legislature gave Waco permission to create the district in 2019 and Waco City Council approved its approval in 2020. The 2% assessment went into effect in October 2020, according to the Waco TPID’s website.
Meanwhile, the $35,000 Magnolia has already been offered comes from the Convention and Visitors Bureau budget. Any allotment over $10,000 in incentive money must go before the bureau’s commission for a vote.
Amy Gaston, director of local marketing initiatives and events for Magnolia, estimates 90% of the people who participate in the marathon come from out of town and will book about 4,410 overnight hotel stays. At $125 per night, the event would generate $38,587 in hotel tax revenue.
Meanwhile, PSI Championship submitted its applications to Waco as part of a bid and is still shopping around for a location. Last year’s competition was held in Bradenton, Florida.
“If they end up not coming here, that money won’t be paid out,” Quandt said.
According to the Greater Waco Sports Commission, the PSI Championship would bring in more than 8,000 attendees that would require an estimated 3,020 overnight hotel stays, generating $29,596 in hotel tax. The event is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 14-19, and would be spread between various facilities and McLane Stadium.
The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, which puts on multiple events in Waco each year, last year won $107,000 in TPID funding and $50,000 from the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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