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Washington Herald: Is Town Ready for Skate America?

The Herald in Everett, Washington is running an op-ed today pondering whether the town, which will be hosting Skate America at Everett's Comcast Arena this October, is ready for the competition.

The editorial stresses that this is a "one-time" chance for Everett to make a good impression on the international sports community.

The exposure Skate America will bring Snohomish County is a tourism promoter's dream. NBC and TV Asahi of Japan will televise the event, bringing shots of downtown Everett and other jewels of Snohomish County into living rooms around the world. Skating officials, foreign dignitaries and international journalists will spread the word about their experience here.

Snohomish County wisely invested $100,000 in local hotel/motel taxes into promoting the event. Twenty-three local hotels -- from Arlington south to Lynnwood and Edmonds, from Marysville and Mukilteo east to Monroe -- are part of a reservation system that is booking rooms for Skate America fans. Ticket sales have been brisk, said event organizer Steve Baker of Production Sports in Mountlake Terrace, but good seats remain.

The state of Washington is turning into quite the figure skating destination; Spokane is hosting the 2010 U.S. Nationals, after doing a great job with them in 2007.

The editorial estimates that Skate America, the opening competition of the International Skating Union's Grand Prix series, will pump $2.5 million into the local economy, with the potential for more coming from the exposure. Skate America takes place from Oct. 24-26.