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Muncie: IronMan competitions have $4 million impact to city

By Stephanie Wiechmann, IPR News | Published on in Business, Economy, Government, Local News, Sports
Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour competed in the IronMan 70.3 in October. (Photo: City of Muncie on Facebook)

The city of Muncie says this fall’s IronMan races had a $4 million impact on the city’s economy.  IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports.

In October, Prairie Creek Reservoir played host to more than 3,500 athletes competing in full and half IronMan races, along with their families and supporters.  According to an economic impact report by the Horizon Convention Center out this week, that IronMan weekend brought in $4.092 million for the city.

Muncie Communications Director Tony Sandleben says the competitions were successful for both the city and the athletes.

“There was an athlete there who was competing in his 181st IronMan – full IronMan competition.  He, obviously, has been around when it comes to triathalons events, IronMan.  And so, I asked him, ‘How does Muncie compare?’  He said, ‘It’s been my favorite so far.’”

The city says the races brought in $3.7 million more than the pre-pandemic month of October 2019.  And, though it did not release the full report, the city says it does not include the economic impact to cities and towns outside of Muncie.

The impact also doesn’t include $100,000 from federal coronavirus relief funds allocated by the city council under the heading “IronMan.”  Sandleben says, contrary to everyone’s assumption, that money was not given to IronMan organizers.  It went to the city of Muncie.

“There are people out there saying the city paid IronMan $100,000 to be the host city.  That’s not accurate at all.  The $100,000 in [American Rescue Plan] funding that is even remotely related to IronMan is the $100,000 the city of Muncie got through ARP because of lost revenue for the 2020 IronMan getting cancelled due to COVID.”

I asked, “Why wasn’t that ever explained?”

Sandleben replied, “No one ever asked.”

Sandleben says that money has not yet been spent and the city is still working on what the money will fund.

The city says it’s eager to host other IronMan events in the future if the organization decides to choose Muncie as a host city again.