The television and film industry has had a $2.4 million economic impact on Rome and Floyd County over the last five years, but accounts for less than half of one percent of the economic impact which flows through the local tourism office.

Ann Hortman, director of the Rome Sports Commission and a liaison to the Georgia Camera Ready program for Rome and Floyd County, briefed the Rome Floyd Chamber Economic Development committee on the impact of film and sports visitors on Friday.

“This week I’ve talked to a film scout every single day,” Hortman said. “This is a busy time because they’re looking for locations to shoot during the upcoming year or two.”

Statewide, the industry pumped more than $9 billion dollars into the state last year and accounted for more than 22,000 jobs.

The overwhelming majority of the $2.4 million in local spending by the industry occurred back in 2015 when the “Kingmakers” pilot was shot in Rome over a six-week period of time. Clint Eastwood’s “The Mule” was shot over two weekends, resulting in a $73,000 economic impact, but Hortman said she was not aware of what the production company had to spend to get the DOT to allow the closure of the west bypass during the local filming.

One of the reasons more productions are not shot in Rome involves the role of the unions in film production. If a shoot takes place more than 70 miles outside a ring from many of the studios headquarters in metro Atlanta, it typically adds $250 a day, per person in the crew to make the trip to Rome.

“We’re outside the circle,” Hortman said. “They are very frugal with their money no matter what you hear about their million dollar budgets.”

The spring should be big for the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College with the International Tennis Federation Georgia Open Wheelchair tournament in March and the Atlantic Coast Conference men’s and women’s tournaments in April.

She predicted that since 2020 is an Olympic year, more competitors than ever will participate in the wheelchair tournament in matches to help enhance their chances of making their nation’s Paralympic teams.

The ACC teams have won the NCAA men’s championships five of the last seven years and have had a team in the championship match eight of the last ten years. On the women’s side, four of the last six NCAA women’s individual singles champions have come out of the ACC.

The new indoor tennis complex at the Rome Tennis Center should be open in time for the wheelchair event in March, she said.

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