— TULSA (AP) — The surprise of the Bassmaster Classic, to those who never have seen it, comes purely in the scope of the event.
"Big" won't fully describe what is set for Tulsa and Grand Lake O' The Cherokees on Friday-Sunday.
The 43rd annual Bassmaster Classic, presented by Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, brings with it a world-class sports event, sports television production, an outdoors sports expo and associated community events.
BASS estimates a crowd of 100,000 visitors, and the Tulsa Sports Commission estimates $26 million in economic benefit. Tax revenue for the city of Tulsa is estimated to be between $1.5 million and $2 million - and all venues are free and open to the public.
"I think a lot of people will be surprised at how big it is," said Ray Hoyt, senior vice president of Visit Tulsa and the Tulsa Sports Commission. "The enormity of it will take people back a little bit. They'll say, 'I had no idea.'"
It's an event with impacts first felt a year ago that carry the potential to influence the economy, tourism and quality of life in northeastern Oklahoma for years to come, Hoyt said.
The economics of the event surprise most people, Deby Snodgrass, executive director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department told the Tulsa World (http://is.gd/jSSdQS).
"What most people don't know about outdoor recreation is it employs more Americans than education, construction, or the oil and gas industry," she said. "It's 6.1 million jobs nationwide ... outdoor recreation's direct economic impact nationally is over $35 billion annually."
Organizers report the BASS organization alone is bringing roughly 200 staff members and contractors to town for the production, and the Sports Commission and Local Organizing Committee have recruited about 350 volunteers to add a smiling sheen to the Green Country welcome mat.