Sports tourism brings increased business to Lincoln

By: Carol Percy, Reporter
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Thanks to a business improvement district agreement that Placer Valley Tourism (PVT) made last year with the cities of Lincoln, Roseville and Rocklin, Lincoln retail businesses can anticipate a surge in weekend customers, according to Roger Ueltzen.

Ueltzen chairs committees for both Lincoln Parks and Recreation and an Economic Development subcommittee focused on sports tourism.

The joint goal of the two committees is to attract tourists to downtown Lincoln, Ueltzen said.

Placer Valley Tourism was established about 10 years ago, according to Ueltzen. The nonprofit group works to attract tourism to South Placer County. He explained that Placer Valley Tourism is a “marketing arm” that helps direct sports groups to the Lincoln area.

“Without their efforts, Lincoln’s participation in girls’ fast pitch softball tournaments would be reduced by 80 percent,” Ueltzen said. “PVT is a key partner in Lincoln’s sports tourism future.”

Lincoln’s Economic Development Manager Shawn Tillman said last month that one of the major benefits of participating in the business improvement district is the “significant amount of tourism that PVT events bring” to the South Placer region.

“Tourism benefits our local businesses and translates into increased tax revenue, which allows the city of Lincoln to provide higher quality public services,” Tillman said.

The costs of Placer Valley Tourism programs, projects and initiatives are paid solely by a self-assessment that the lodging industry requested, according to Tillman.

In the tri-city area that includes Lincoln, Roseville and Rocklin, Ueltzen said there are 23 hotels. Sixteen are in Roseville, six in Rocklin and one in Lincoln (Holiday Inn Express at 155 Ferrari Ranch Road.).

When guests book a room, hotels pay Placer Valley Tourism an assessed room rate of $4.25 per room per night. That money in turn is used, in part, to maintain Placer Valley Tourism’s website and recruit tournaments to the South Placer area.

From late February through mid-November, 35 tournaments are scheduled to come to the Lincoln area. Thirty-two girls’ softball teams with 10 to 15 players for each team will play at Foskett Regional Park, Wilson Park and Lincoln High School, according to Ueltzen.


“Counting team players, their families and coaching staff, we’re seeing over 1,000 people per day on the weekends in Lincoln,” Ueltzen said. “While they’re here, they go to our restaurants, gas stations and city shops.”

Gary Ybarra, owner of Roseville-based ASA Tournaments, promotes and coordinates bringing sports teams to Lincoln, Roseville and Rocklin. More than 100 teams are scheduled to play at sports fields in the Placer Valley area, he said.

“We can sign up anybody to play in the Lincoln area. Our teams come from the (San Francisco) Bay Area, Salinas, Stockton and Modesto,” Ybarra said.

The next ASA tournament is scheduled to play at Foskett Regional Park and Lincoln High School on Saturday, April 11 and Sunday, April 12, according to

Some business owners along Lincoln Boulevard have seen an uptick in weekend customers this year.

Kelly Bewley, Old Town Pizza owner, said Tuesday that “we definitely see an increase in customers” anytime big groups are in town.

Double Barrel Smokehouse owner Monty Lokey said his business has been “pretty busy” over the weekends.

“As far as sports teams go, we’re happy to see them come to town,” Lokey said.

Pam Lopez, owner of Mr. Pickle’s sandwich shop, said sports teams have been good for business.

“I love it when they come to town. They order a lot of full meals. Sports tourism is great for our downtown,” Lopez said.

Ueltzen anticipates “a lot more sports tourism” as Lincoln grows and adds additional sports fields during the next 10 years.

“Placer Valley is a very attractive area to come to for sports tournaments,” Ueltzen said. “I think it’s going to grow as the Village 5 complex comes online. That’s going to bring a lot more people to Lincoln.”

In an effort to help tourists, the Lincoln Parks and Recreation and Economic Development sports tourism committees jointly produced a dining map listing a variety of local retail businesses. The map is available on the city’s website at