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Ironman California: Athletes from over 60 countries pump $15M into Sacramento economy

Sacramento sees an economic boost from Ironman California
Sacramento sees an economic boost from Ironman California 02:11

SACRAMENTO — As Ironman athletes crossed the finish line Sunday near the State Capitol, many headed into downtown Sacramento to see what the area had to offer.

Thousands of people are in town from over 60 countries and all 50 U.S. States for Ironman. It's exposure local leaders say is priceless, and local businesses are glad to see the economic boost.

"I'm sorry to say that after this race, we are gonna eat you guys out of house and home," said Ari Baum, an Ironman competitor who finished 4th in his age group Sunday.

In town from New York City, Baum says he has enjoyed exploring downtown and Old Sacramento.

"One of the things that Ironman athletes try to do is support the local community because we really do appreciate them letting us use their roads and being patient with us while we close down the street so we can do this race," said Baum.

According to Visit Sacramento, that support brings in around $15 million into the local economy.

"Coming out of the pandemic, it's a huge bonus for the businesses throughout the region," said Mike Testa, President and CEO of Visit Sacramento.

Others came into town simply to watch the athletes swim more than 2 miles, bike more than 100 miles, and then run a full marathon.

"We traveled far, and we are excited to be here," said Ashley Saylor.

Saylor is in town from Kentucky to watch a friend compete. When not watching the race, she's navigating a different course — the downtown commons.

"We wanna do something that's local; I don't know when I'll be back," said Saylor.

After a disappointing 2021 competition with bad weather washing out the competition, it's been two years in the making. Testa says it is well worth the wait.

"It is on record as the largest Ironman ever in North America. So obviously, we didn't have it last year, but nice to come back and host the biggest one they've ever had," said Testa.

Sacramento's course stacks up as a front-runner, even for Baum, who's on his 5th Ironman competition.

"It is my favorite. It was a PR, so it definitely is my favorite. The scenery is just unbelievable. And the food? Second to none!" said Baum.

For three weekends straight, Sacramento has hosted thousands of people from all over the world.

First, it was back-to-back music festivals the past two weekends, Aftershock and GoldenSky, and now Ironman.

All three together are projected to pump well over $50 million into the local economy.

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