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Dow Championship expected to bring over $20 million to regional economy

People travel from all over to watch the Dow Championship, and many more enjoy watching the tournament on TV.
Masha Smahliuk
People travel from all over to watch the Dow Championship, and many more enjoy watching the tournament on TV.

Dow Championship is one of the largest events in Midland and in the Great Lakes Bay region, said Tony Stamas, a president of Midland Business Alliance, which is also a sponsor of the championship.

Stamas said the event brings tourists and supports local businesses, which positively affects economic development.

“I think it has a tremendous impact,” he said. “It’s just such a wonderful opportunity to have the event here ... to really show off our community to the participants, to their supporters, to the fans ... We want to make sure that we continue to help people see the wonderful community we have in Midland and the Great Lakes Bay region.”

Stamas estimates that the championship will bring more than $20 million to the region.

Dow Championship director Wendy Transchen told Midland Daily News that the event will also donate $2 million to the #TeamUp initiative, which is the 36 nonprofit organizations in Isabella, Midland, Bay and Saginaw counties.

Additionally, Stamas said that the championship works with 250 local businesses and suppliers.

“If you go to the event, you can see that ... (businesses) are transporting people there,” he said. “They’re working with the Midland County Club. ... (They) bring food in. For tens and thousands of people over the course of the tournament, there’s a technical need.”

Bo Brines, the owner of Little Forks Outfitters, said the store sold rain gear for the championship.

“It’s a great event for the town,” Brines said. “It just brings people from all over the places here. We usually see the players down here, I think some of them stay in downtown. Traffic is good for us this time of year ... It’s really good for the community.”

Eva Clue, who works at Heather ‘n Holly, agreed. Clue said the store had seen more visitors this week.

“I think it helps the small businesses and brings the community together,” Clue said.

Stamas also said that Dow Championship is looking for the younger generation and has a STEM Center and a youth golf clinic on site. It also celebrates veterans in its events, Stamas said.

“I think it goes across the board, and then, certainly, you see people in the downtown, you see them going to local restaurants, going to local gas stations, and so that all has an impact in terms of the local economy,” he said.

Bob Fleming is from Plymouth. He and his wife came to Midland this year for the Dow Championship. They have visited Grazi restaurant, been to different diners and stayed in different hotels.

“We love it, it’s a great town,” Fleming said. “A lot of good restaurants, good lodging, good wine stores. ... We watched it yesterday and enjoyed the competition. The caliber of play is fantastic. The girls are just awesome, excellent golfers. The course is beautiful.”

Stamas said people come to watch the championship not just from all over Michigan but from other states as well.

Additionally, he said, Dow Championship has been adjusting to accommodate visitors throughout the five years of operating. For example, this year the championship is also happening from Thursday to Sunday instead of from Wednesday to Saturday. This year it has also been moved to the end of June instead of July so that it wasn’t conflicting with other events.

“It’s just a wonderful way to highlight our community ... to have a chance to talk about Midland and the hospitality,” Stamas said. “And it’s a wonderful way to show our community to friends really across the country.”

Editor's note: WCMU was a community impact partner at this year's Dow Championship.

Masha Smahliuk is a newsroom intern for WCMU based at the Midland Daily News.
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