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Sports Tourism adds $527,493 in economic impact

After 22 months on the job, Roland Soto has much to like about working as the City of Brownwood’s first-ever sports coordinator.

Soto particularly likes the numbers he presented recently to the Brownwood City Council showing that sporting events held in the city in 2018 have had an economic impact of $527,493, including 1,566 room nights in local hotels.

What stands out to Soto about those numbers is “just the overall impact from events that we’re doing which I would consider home-grown events — events that have essentially just been built up here,” Soto said.

Soto cited the impact of last month’s Down and Dirty Softball Classic, hosted by the Brownwood Girls Softball Association. “They helped with our district softball tournaments over the summer, and after seeing what goes into it, they came to me and said ‘we can host our own events,’” Soto said.

Events scheduled for the remainder of 2018 were the Birdies on the Bayour disc golf tournament, the HPU Softball Sting ’em Showcase, the Home Run Fest, the Centex Fall Cup and the TexasBank Holiday Classic.

Soto also hopes to bring back the Gordon Wood Classic football games, which won’t likely occur until 2020.

Soto, a 1996 graduate of Brownwood High School, lives in Brownwood with his wife, Esmeralda, and their three daughters, Madeline, Marian and Emma.

Growing up in Brownwood, Soto was active in sports and worked previously as a golf pro.

Soto said he “loves the camaraderie you get from team sports, the disciplines from individual sports and how it parallels life in a lot of ways, the peaks and valleys.”

Soto said he loves to watch sports with his daughters, who understand concepts including clock management and coaching philosophies.

“It’s been a passion for me,” Soto said of sports. “It’s been a passion for my family for a long time. To get to work in a field that you love has been great. I haven’t always gotten to do that.”

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