The Trevor factor

Lawrence coverage brings national exposure to Cartersville

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With national media outlets still singing his praises, Trevor Lawrence is continuing to "put Cartersville, Georgia, on the map." Proud to see the freshman lead Clemson to the college football national championship, Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau's staff members also are amazed and overjoyed by the amount of publicity being generated for his hometown.

"Without doubt that young man’s accomplishments has elevated the recognition and profile of Cartersville," said Ellen Archer, executive director of the local CVB. "One of the CVB’s goals during recent years has been to elevate awareness of Cartersville among Georgians to 50 percent. Little did we know we were going to have to wait for Trevor Lawrence to graduate from high school to help us out with that.

"… VisitCartersville.org has enjoyed a 127.47 percent increase in visitation during … [the following] one week comparisons – 3,792 for the week Jan. 2-8, 2019, [versus] 1,667 for the week Jan. 2-8, 2018," she said, referring to the Google Analytics comparison. "And perhaps most telling is there was a 131-plus percent increase in new users. I can’t say that is all due to Trevor Lawrence, but I do know there has been a lot of print and broadcast media coverage on Cartersville within that time frame. There is nothing that the CVB has done that could generate the national exposure to the word 'Cartersville' that compares with Trevor Lawrence’s achievements. We have a lot to be proud of in him."

Echoing Archer's comments, Regina Wheeler — director of operations for the Cartersville-Bartow County CVB — is thrilled to see Cartersville step into the limelight.

Along with highlighting the quarterback's achievements — such as capturing the College Football Playoff National Championship's Offensive MVP Award during Clemson's 44-16 rout over Alabama — media outlets also are highlighting Lawrence's backstory. A sampling of headlines dating back to late December include Sports Illustrated's "A tour through the football-crazed town that made Trevor Lawrence," 11Alive.com's "Cartersville Pride: Trevor Lawrence is a hometown hero after Clemson's big win," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's "Quite a journey for Trevor Lawrence: From Cartersville to Championship" and WSB Atlanta's "Cartersville proud of hometown player Trevor Lawrence leading Clemson to title."

"Fans are extremely passionate about football," Wheeler said. "Trevor’s athletic ability and his teammates and the coaching staff at Cartersville High School and now at Clemson have certainly put Cartersville, Georgia, on the map. We are extremely proud of his accomplishments and the warm and nurturing light in which Cartersville has been shared with viewers and readers of ESPN and Sports Illustrated. If 'it takes a village,' Cartersville is a pretty good one to have supporting you.

"Every year, the CVB awards the Shining Star Award for individuals or organizations that bring national attention to the community. A recent social media post displayed a photo of actor Wayne Knight as Seinfeld’s Newman, one of our first recipients, with a funny caption – 'When Wayne Knight realizes he’s not the most famous person from Cartersville anymore.'"

Striving to increase day and overnight visitors to Cartersville and Bartow County, the CVB has assisted various entertainment projects over the years.

"Working with the film industry, Miss Georgia USA pageants and other big events is more about economics and direct exposure," Wheeler said. "Having a phenomenal athlete in one of America’s most-beloved sports brings in emotion and evokes memory with the name Cartersville, Georgia, which is the ultimate and unquantifiable result of marketing. The added attention is truly invaluable.

"On behalf of the CVB, we congratulate Trevor Lawrence, his family, current and former coaches, and all his teammates on the national championship win. We wish him many successful years and great blessings to come."

In reviewing the results of U.S. Travel Association's 2017 Travel Economic Impact on Georgia State, Counties and Regions, Archer was pleased to see Bartow experienced a 49.4 percent increase in tourism expenditures from 2011 to 2017.

"With visitors spending $205.84 million in Bartow County, that also paid $6.24 million in local taxes," Wheeler said. "Visitor spending saved each Bartow County household $419 per year in tax liability. In terms of growth, Bartow County is in the Top 3 of regional market share at 6.2 percent. Only Carroll and Whitfield Counties saw more growth from 2016-2017 at the slightly higher rate of 6.4 percent.

"Overall, Bartow County ranks 22 of all Georgia counties in direct visitor spending, behind other destinations, like Atlanta, Savannah, Georgia’s coastal islands, Macon and Athens. Our region is comprised of Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Dade, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Walker and Whitfield. Bartow County attracted 12.9 percent of all visitor spending within the region."