Don McKenzie helped bring in major figure skating competitions to Providence, Rhode Island, for nearly 20 years when the opportunity arose to land 2015 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships. His initial inquiries were rebuffed when Dunkin’ Donuts Center was booked in late February, but the Providence Warwick CVB stepped in. All of a sudden, the venue was available. What changed? The bureau calculated the event would bring in roughly $3 million to the community.
“I couldn’t comprehend that,” admits McKenzie, who is now affectionately known as Providence’s $3 million man as part of a new advertising campaign created by the CVB.
More than 100 teams competed from February 25-28 at the event, which had more than 3,000 attendees and athletes—a number so large that 15 area hotels were needed to accommodate the 4,800 room nights. Between cabs, dinners and shopping, it resulted in huge business at a time when winter weather often deters leisure tourists from the area.