The race for the gold has raked in some green for the city of San Jose.
The U.S. Olympic Trials ended Sunday night, but the four-day event has left a lasting effect on local businesses.
Sonny Walters, owner of “The Britannia Arms British Pub” in downtown San Jose, says foot traffic increased by up to 20 percent, giving his business a much needed boost.
“We actually opened up a little early a couple days and had some groups, some family members going to the Olympic trials come here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They became friendly and ended up becoming regulars all week.”
The West Santa Clara Street pub was one of several downtown eateries promoted by the Olympic Trials in “Taste of San Jose,” giving area businesses a nice boost.
This came as no surprise to Steve Penny, the president of USA Gymnastics, who called the trials the “Super Bowl” of gymnastics.
His organization picked San Jose to host the trials after a decade-long application process. Penny says the four-day event is likely the best in gymnastic Olympic trials history, from ticket sales to gross revenues and the number of booked hotel rooms.
In fact, the San Jose Sports Authority estimates more than 43,000 visitors came from outside the Bay Area, bringing in an estimated 15 million to 20 million dollars to the area.
“We have a large gym community here in the Bay Area, there’s hundreds of clubs within 60-90 mi radius and those clubs really help us market the event and sell tickets.”
Marshall Jones agrees. The sales and marketing director for the Fairmont Hotel San Jose says the crowds from the trials led to a near full-occupancy. Jones adds, “The city seems to have embraced sporting as a market for itself, so it’s really good for us anytime we get something like this in town because it gives people a reason to come out.”
As for Walters, he’s hoping his British pub will give people even more reason to come out, with the next best place to root on Team USA.
“ It’s got a pretty good motif going with it so we’re excited it’s a good thing. We’re going to be showing the Olympics all through the events. It’ll be exciting for us again.”
And the excitement isn’t over. The road back from London will also go through San Jose, in fact, the South Bay city will be the first of 40 stops for the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics team.
They are set to perform at the HP Pavilion for a show on September 8 on the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions.