Pacific Northwest Qualifier generates $15 million for Spokane economy

When we think of big sporting events in Spokane, Bloomsday and Hoopfest are usually the first to come to mind; but it’s the Pacific Northwest Qualifier for volleyball that brings in the most dough.

We are winding down on a major month for sports in Spokane that’s seen 35,000 athletes pass through the Lilac City, and it’s certainly going out with a bang.

Eric Sawyer, President of the Spokane Sports Commission said, “it’s an interesting puzzle of here’s this event, its the biggest sporting event we do on an annual basis but not a lot of people even know it exists.”

The ‘PNQ’ as it’s called, is a qualifying event for girls club volleyball teams for the national championship, and it’s hidden away inside the convention center.

The chaos of teams from around the country descending on Spokane is a hard concept for local players like Ali Carpenter to wrap their heads around.

She explained, “it’s kind of crazy to think that that many people come up here for one tournament.”

So just how big is the economic impact of the PNQ?

The Spokane Sports Commission estimates that it brings in about $12 million to the Spokane economy.

The event sees 8,000 athletes on 700 teams play in games over two weekends, generating 15,000 hotel stays.

Twelve-thousand people come out to watch and Carpenter says you don’t need to love volleyball to enjoy it.

“It’s an atmosphere like you can’t experience anywhere else. The energy and the balls going everywhere and everybody constantly playing all the time and everybody yelling and getting excited; its so much fun,” she said.