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Solheim Cup expected to generate $30 million for Toledo economy

LPGA official tells 13abc plans are still on to hold event as scheduled in September
Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 5:18 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Large letters spelling out “#SoleheimCup” sit outside of Real Seafood Company at The Docks in Downtown Toledo.

Eventually, they’ll move around the city to help promote the biannual golf tournament coming to northwest Ohio in August. For now, they’re just one part of the plan to build anticipation around the international event coming to the Inverness Club in Toledo.

“This is if not the largest event, it’s in the top couple of big events that have ever been hosted here in Toledo,” said Lance Woodworth, the president and CEO of Destination Toledo. “If golf isn’t your thing, you can come to town and just enjoy what’s going to be a huge party.”

He saw the last Solheim Cup in 2019 hosted by Scotland. The event, which draws people from all corners of the world, features some of the best women’s golfers in the world in a competition between the United States and Europe.

When he went to the tournament in Scotland, he wanted to figure out ways to build up events outside of the golf course when it became Toledo’s turn to host. He said the city is working to get as many businesses involved in the event. A downtown opening concert is also planned that will bring more than 30,000 people to the city.

He calls it an event that the city not only wants to happen but one that needs to happen.

“To have that national spotlight shine on us, it’s more than just fun,” Woodworth said. “It’s money in the bank for businesses who desperately need it.”

The tournament usually attracts 150,000 attendees throughout the week, bringing an estimated $30 million to the Toledo-area economy, Woodworth said. That’s in addition to the more than 200 hours of national TV coverage planned for the event.

But, the world and Ohio are still fighting the coronavirus pandemic. For now, officials are cautiously optimistic that, by late August, the vaccine will be more prevalent and life will be returning to normal.

Dennis Baggett, the Solheim Cup’s executive director and vice president of LPGA Properties, told 13abc a final decision on whether to postpone the tournament will not come until mid-May. It’s also too early to decide if fans can attend in person, he said.

“Everyone else is agreeing at this point that we think we’ll be able to move forward with September,” Baggett said. “That’s what our plan is.”

As for those large letters at The Docks - they’re part of a social media campaign to build excitement around the tournament.

Take your pictures at the sign and post them to social media by tagging @SolheimCupUSA with the hashtag Solheim Cup.

One random winner who posts their photos to Instagram by Feb. 28 will get a prize pack. It includes a $150 gift card to Mainstreet Ventures which you can use at some of Toledo’s restaurants. The prize also includes a Solheim Cup mask and pin flag signed by 2019′s Team USA.

“The whole idea of the Solheim Cup challenge is to generate excitement and awareness if people don’t know what Solheim Cup is,” Woodworth said. “We just want to get the excitement rolling. We all need something fun to look forward to.”

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