Flying Pig provides marketing opportunity for Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Flying Pig Marathon provides the Greater Cincinnati Area the opportunity to market itself to thousands of people from all 50 states and over thirteen countries in one weekend.

Last year alone the race weekend is estimated to have generated $9.5 million for the area. Like any good host, the goal for Cincinnati is to leave people wanting to come back for more.

Chris Brox and five of his friends drove down from Canada for the race without knowing a lot about the Queen City.

"I'm going to be honest, not much," Brox admitted. "It was a friend's idea to come here and do the marathon and I thought 'Why not'?"

The race was the first marathon for most of the group.

"We really didn't know much or know what to think or expect in coming to Cincinnati," Katherine Siren said. "We looked at some reviews and heard that it was a really good marathon."

Doug Olberding, an Associate Professor of Sport Management at Xavier University, helps crunch the numbers to find out how much economic impact the marathon generates every year.

"This is a real opportunity to showcase the region, to showcase Cincinnati," he said Friday.

Olberding notes, however, that the impact is not just financial.

"There is a social impact, there is a benefit to social causes, city image, local pride," Olberding explained. "When we interview participants, volunteers, we see they're talking about 'downtown is clean', 'there's a lot of people on the street. They've been to neighborhoods that they perhaps haven't visited before."

To help visitors better see the city, Cincinnati Metro is offering a reduced price race day pass on Sunday for the first time ever.

"We have a lot of people who don't have cars who have flown in or we have people who are watching relatives who don't know the lay of the land," explained Kim Lahman of Metro.

"People see the city, they get to experience it a little bit and that's the way to get them to come back," Olberding said.

"So far people have been very friendly, very welcoming," Brox noted. "We could definitely see ourselves coming back again."

Olberding expects this year's economic impact to be significantly higher than last year's $9.5 million since participation is up and more people are expected to visit from out of town.

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