‘Exciting to see the growth’: The Podium events bring in millions to Spokane businesses

SPOKANE, Wash. – A world-class sports competition is taking place in Spokane this weekend at The Podium.

About 480 athletes, including Olympians and gold medalists, are competing at the 2022 USA Track and Field Indoor Championships.

In just one weekend, the event brings in millions of dollars in economic impact. The two-day event is helping boost local business during a generally slow season.

Spokane Sports Vice President Ashley Blake said the USATF is bringing in $5.3 million in economic impact. That money is being spent in hotels, local businesses and restaurants.

“It’s new money that our city would’ve not realized if it wasn’t for the podium hosting the event,” Blake said.

Shawn O’Donnell’s is enjoying all the benefits it has by being within walking distance of The Podium and many other large venues.

“It’s just a wonderful location. It’s really exciting to see the growth and the regentrification of this area,” said Amy Bower, the banquet and events manager for the Irish pub.

Bower says they’ve noticed an increase in business since The Podium opened in mid-December. She says a lot of people they talk with say they’re from out of town.

“We love hearing people’s stories. As we meet and greet and talk with the tables, we learned a lot of people are not from here,” Bower said.

Blake says between the opening in mid-December through March 1, they estimate about $20 million in economic impact for the Spokane area.

“Our whole purpose at Spokane Sports is to be an economic driver and we do that through sports tourism so to send business, especially to restaurants and small businesses in December, January, February, and March, a time frame that isn’t a high tourism season for our city,” Blake said.

Because of this slow season, that’s why Shawn O’Donnell’s took part in the Inlander Restaurant week, too, hoping to get new people in to try their foods.

Between restaurant week and events at The Podium, Blake says they enjoy seeing many people come in. Bower said they’re looking forward to more big events coming, including Sir Paul McCartney at the Spokane Arena.

“Spokane is really on the cusp of becoming a really fun place to be. With all the entertainment and Podium, it’s going to grow our community and our businesses,” Bower said.

RELATED: USA Track and Field athletes to compete in Spokane this weekend