Sports give Federal Way an economic boost

Federal Way sport venues may not look like much to the typical passerby, but they are a major money-maker for the city.

Last year, the NCAA swimming and diving Olympic trials were held at the King County Aquatic Center. Meanwhile, Federal Way has also hosted the U.S. Women's Triathlon for the past five years.

Next month, the U.S. Open swim meet will be held at Aquatic Center.

Celebration Park has also hosts some sizable games. In 2008, Celebration Park hosted the 32nd annual Gay Softball World Series. The 2008 event brought teams from 41 U.S. and Canadian cities — and pumped about $2 million into the local economy, according to organizers.

That same summer, the Senior Softball World Series was held in Federal Way, along the with neighboring cities of Kent and Tukwila.

"Celebration Park, from spring through fall, is pretty well booked from regional to national events," said Patrick Doherty, director of economic development for Federal Way.

That is great for Federal Way's economy, particularly the hospitality industry, he said. Travelers staying in Federal Way will spend roughly $75 a day for food, lodging and fuel, Doherty said.

Even those who come for a day trip will spend money here. Not only is that good for the city, but it extends to those who work in Federal Way.

There are also Little League games at Steel Lake Park. In fact, Doherty said that events involving younger athletes tend to bring more money. When these players are on the road, their families come too, he said.

"We have a pretty strong amateur sports community," Doherty said.

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