Low University Games attendance no surprise
To the editor:
Our annual winter week in Lake Placid this year coincided with the FISU World University Games, and we were delighted to see that the event production was first class, that the rebuilt/renovated Olympic legacy venues looked amazing, and that the hospitality and service levels were outstanding.
However, the attendance was obviously disappointing — but this should not be surprising, for three reasons:
First, from an athletic competition standpoint, the Games were a third-tier event. They were not professional athletes, most weren’t Olympians or World Cup competitors, nor were they recognizable college athletes or NCAA teams with followings. Hence, from an athlete-attraction standpoint, there was no major draw.
Second, in a self-defeating prophecy, the constant and overriding discussions of remote parking, shuttle buses, limited lodging, and closure of downtown to vehicular traffic were a turnoff for those living in the region.
Third, the local market is small. Based on U.S. Census data plugged into mapping software, there are only around 8,500 people within a 30-minute drive of Lake Placid, only 95,000 within a 60-minute drive, and only 199,000 within a 90-minute drive. Given the two factors cited above, those living in the local market obviously decided it wasn’t worth their time, money or effort to make the comparatively short trip.
All of that said, I think the massive investment in venues, infrastructure and marketing will pay dividends, as Lake Placid is now well positioned to attract more fitting events for years to come.
Galloway, New Jersey