Written by David Mann
Darton State College will bring the 2012 National Junior College Athletics Association D-I Men’s Soccer National Championship tournament to Albany, the NJCAA announced recently, conveying with it national attention and a solid economic impact to the Albany area.
Officials estimate the tournament will draw thousands to the Darton campus, and bring an economic impact to the surrounding area of over $800,000.
“It is great to host an event that will give the College, city and county such national exposure,” said Martha Snow, tournament director and Darton State College events coordinator. “The potential economic impact of this tournament is much greater than the women’s tournaments hosted on-campus in 2006 and 2007 since the tournament format has expanded from eight to 12 teams.
“It is anticipated that over 4,000 spectators will be visiting Albany for the duration of the tournament.”
Snow estimated an economic impact of about $830,000 for the Albany area, mostly applied to hotel, dining, entertainment and shopping enterprises.
Unlike the women’s national championships previously hosted by Darton that consisted of eight teams, a total of 12 teams from eight districts will enter the tournament on Nov. 12. The championship final follows on Nov. 17, enticing approximately 240 student-athletes plus associated individuals to stay in the area for at least five days, according to statistics released by the NJCAA.
The tournament is expected to bring student-athletes, support staff and family members associated with the 12 qualifying teams to Albany from eight separate districts within the NJCAA. The 2011 Championship hosted teams from as far east as Maryland and west as Arizona.
Darton Athletic Director Michael Kiefer submitted Darton’s tournament bid to the NJCAA, and while he recognizes the positive influence the tournament will bring to the Albany area, he’s also eagerly anticipating its impact to Darton State College, he said.
“We are excited that the NJCAA has awarded us the opportunity to host this national championship tournament,” he said. “On a national platform, it provides us the chance to showcase all that Darton State College has to offer.”
All 15 games of the tournament are scheduled for the Darton soccer complex with admission open to the general public. The matches are also scheduled for live internet broadcast, giving the College and surrounding interests an easily-accessed, high profile venue for advertising and information sharing.