Born from a media company focusing on markets significantly impacting economic growth, SDM appreciates the cause for celebration in the achievements of event organizers and host cities coming together to execute successful events. This recognition of the economic impact from our industry continues to build on the Sports Destination Management mission: dedication to the advancement in understanding the distinctions of planning, implementing and managing sports events and travel, particularly the event-destination relationship. As the cornerstone for successful events, the relationship between the event organizer and host city is a frequent topic throughout the pages of SDM. Here, we are pleased to share quantifiable success stories resulting from the event-destination relationships. So successful, in fact, the following event-destination relationships are responsible for contributing over $100 million to our nation’s economy last year. We were overwhelmed with the number of nominations we received, as well as the enormous variety of sports they showcased. From team sports to individual pursuits and from traditional activities to the offbeat, entries ran the gamut. The one common thread was that they all played a vital role in the economy of sports tourism. It is our pleasure to honor the most outstanding of those nominated, and recognize each of the partnering organizations involved. Mid- to Large Market CHAMPIONS Forrest Wood Cup Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board LOCATION Columbia/Lake Murray, South Carolina Total Room Nights: 9,916 Total Economic Impact: $25,754,745 For the Forrest Wood Cup, Capital City/Lake Murray Country RTB brought FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) and the state together on a marketing campaign to have both a major four-day fishing outdoor show & tournament and a barbecue competition with 40 of the best barbecue chefs in the state. Comprised of fishing enthusiasts and the general public alike, over 43,000 tourists enjoyed the barbeque and live music presented throughout the event. A truly collaborative effort (over 12 organizations contributed time and service), the event is expected to return to the area, thanks to the success it enjoyed. CHAMPIONS USSSA Fastpitch Eastern World Series MAASA - Mid Atlantic Amateur Sports Alliance Maryland Sports/TEAM Maryland LOCATION Salisbury/Ocean City, Maryland Total Room Nights: 16,041 Total Economic Impact: $19,885,037 The event has played a vital role in lifting the economy of a section of Maryland that was hit very hard by the recession. Three jurisdictions (Wicomico County, Worcester County and the Town of Ocean City) on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore work to host the event together. The event has grown tremendously since its inception in 2007, when it had between 30 and 50 teams. These days, it has nearly 400 teams and every ball field is pressed into service. Hotels, restaurants and other businesses benefit greatly from the stream of visitors, who return year after year. CHAMPIONS Bassmaster Classic Visit Greenville SC Visit Anderson LOCATION Greenville, South Carolina Total Room Nights: 11,000 Total Economic Impact: $17,000,000+ The Bassmaster Classic is considered the Super Bowl of professional fishing, with more than 50 top professionals competing. More than 300 media reps covered the Classic and the event generated tens of millions of page views on Bassmaster.com, received 12 hours of TV coverage on ESPN2 and 12 hours of coverage on ESPN Classic. Hosting this tournament for the second time gave Greenville the chance to shine on a national stage. The event showcased the region's remarkable outdoor beauty and natural assets. Fans enjoyed events at the convention center, arena and the fishing action at Lake Hartwell. CHAMPIONS US Youth Soccer Region III Soccer Championships Carolina Elite Soccer Academy LOCATION Greenville, South Carolina Total Room Nights: 10,000+ Total Economic Impact: $10,000,000+ The US Youth Soccer Region III Soccer Championships have been held previously at the MeSA Soccer Complex, a 16-field facility in Greenville. The event is the country's oldest and most prestigious national youth soccer tournament, and the 2016 event, also booked for Greenville, is expected to draw more than 3,600 players and an estimated 12,000 spectators. The tournament typically attracts more than 200 boys and girls teams, ages Under-13 through Under-19, from the 12 Southern US Youth Soccer State Associations that make up Region III. Over 400 volunteers were involved in the 2015 event, and support from local businesses was also a key factor in making the event a success. CHAMPIONS ASA USA Girl’s 18U Class A Fastpitch National Championship Spartanburg Convention & Visitors Bureau LOCATION Spartanburg, South Carolina Total Room Nights: 2,673+ Total Economic Impact: $7,400,000 It might have been Spartanburg’s first time hosting the ASA USA Girl's 18U Class A Fastpitch National Championship, but if Spartanburg has its way, it won’t be the last. A total of 104 teams from 24 states came to Tyger River Park in Reidville to play in the event. Spartanburg CVB worked with the Spartanburg County Parks Department and City of Spartanburg Special Events in order to manage the event. There were record numbers for hotel occupancy and revenue, as well as hospitality spending during the time of the tournament. CHAMPIONS SAC Columbia Invitational Maryland Sports/TEAM Maryland LOCATION Columbia, Maryland Total Room Nights: 15,898 Total Economic Impact: $7,200,000 Elite Tournaments brought this event back to the area, continuing to positively affect Maryland's economy, as it had for the past six years. The event literally played out across the state, spread over four counties with over 1,000 games played in 16 different locations on 54 fields. Approximately 60% of the teams came from outside the state of Maryland, with teams from states including Connecticut, Florida, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. As the event has expanded, it has gained state and national sponsorship. CHAMPIONS USA BMX Grand Nationals Tulsa Sports Commission LOCATION Tulsa, Oklahoma Total Room Nights: 14,087 Total Economic Impact: $6,002,396+ USA BMX Grand Nationals is the culminating event of a season-long 40+ racing series. This event has been held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the past 18 years and each year, it is the largest BMX Race held in the world. With its large attendance and being held over Thanksgiving dates, the Grand Nationals are a valuable part of the sports tourism fabric in Tulsa each year. In 2014, nearly half of the 48 BMX competitors from the London 2012 Olympics were competing, along with more than 3,500 amateur competitors from 34-plus states. CHAMPIONS USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships VISIT Milwaukee LOCATION Milwaukee, Wisconsin Total Room Nights: 2,000 Total Economic Impact: $5,327,959 This event originally was awarded to Milwaukee for only two years (2013 and 2014.) USA Triathlon is the national governing body for this event, which was such a success for the city and organization that Milwaukee was awarded it for a third and final year in 2015. That event had the most economic impact, with more than 5,000 athletes alone participating. In addition to attracting some of the nation’s top multisport athletes, the event was live-streamed by USA Triathlon, which generated further exposure for the sport as well as for Milwaukee. CHAMPIONS US Youth Soccer Region IV Presidents Cup Snohomish County Sports Commission LOCATION Snohomish, Washington Total Room Nights: 4,315 Total Economic Impact: $4,587,060 This was the first year Snohomish hosted the Presidents Cup. The event was granted to the area following Snohomish Youth Soccer Club's success in presenting other competitions, including Snohomish Bigfoot Soccer Tournament. Also playing in Snohomish’s favor were the abundant facilities at Stocker Soccer Fields. The Presidents Cup allowed Snohomish to host 120 boys and girls (U13-17) soccer teams from across 14 states. As a result of hosting, the area is able to cement its status as a soccer community and can demonstrate its capabilities to host future national championships. CHAMPIONS NSA Northern B Fastpitch World Series Hamilton County Sports Commission LOCATION Hamilton County, Indiana Total Room Nights: 3,827 Total Economic Impact: $3,800,000 The Grand Nationals have grown five to 10 percent year over year for the past decade. The 2015 event hosted a total of 263 teams, with players ranging in age from nine to 18, including 4,000 athletes and 7,600 spectators. There was tremendous support from Hamilton County itself, including the local softball community, whose volunteers helped run the tournament. One factor in the excellent economic impact of the event was its participant demographic: Girls’ sports events tend to attract more friends and family members who travel with players, contributing significantly to local tourism. Small Market CHAMPIONS American Taekwondo Association Class “A” Tournament Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau LOCATION Lynwood, Illinois Total Room Nights: 300 Total Economic Impact: $730,800 The martial arts competition, a new and highly successful event for Lynwood, Illinois, brought in a total of 947 competitors (representing a total of 24 different states) competing in more than 3,000 total events. The event, whose national governing body was the American Taekwondo Association, drew upwards of 3,000 tourists to the area. The CVB worked with the Southland Center Ho-Chunk Nation on preparations for and implementation of the event. The tournament will be returning to Chicago Southland in 2016. CHAMPIONS Queen of the Mountain Volleyball Tournament Rocky Top Sports World LOCATION Gatlinburg, Tennessee Total Room Nights: 257 Total Economic Impact: $523,638 Queen of the Mountain was a new event for Rocky Top which worked with Signature Volleyball to create the tournament, bringing in 1,285 tourists. While there are larger events held at Rocky Top, what made this event significant in terms of impact was the influence of an ice/sleet and snow event that landed upon the Smoky Mountains that weekend. Below-zero temperatures and treacherous road conditions deterred many tourists from visiting the Smoky Mountains, but not the volleyball players. A total of 54 teams attended (only one team actually cancelled), and the Rocky Top Food and Beverage Department set a two-day record. CHAMPIONS Dixie Boys Pre-Majors World Series Washington County Tourist Development Council LOCATION Chipley, Florida Total Room Nights: 500 Total Economic Impact: $359,775 This event was new for the Washington County Tourist Development Council (TDC) and attracted a total of 665 tourists. It was the first event of this magnitude for the small community and it took three years of planning to implement. Overwhelming support from the local business community drove the success of the event, which including sponsorships and providing meals for the banquet and during the games at the fields. Approximately 100 volunteers worked the entire six-day event. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and the TDC plans to apply for hosting duties in 2018. CHAMPIONS U. S. Lawn Mower Racing Foley Sports Tourism LOCATION Foley, Alabama Total Room Nights: 149 Total Economic Impact: $345,000 The U.S Lawn Mower Racing Association (USLMRA) brought its STA-BIL Series event to the Foley Sports Tourism Complex for the first time in August of 2015. From the onset, event organizers were impressed by the marketing and community outreach provided by Foley Sports Tourism. Despite inclement weather challenges, the event attracted over 2,800 spectators. USLMRA attributes the success of this event to Foley Sports Tourism, touting the service was “far above any our organization has seen in quite a while.” The outstanding management on the part of Foley Sports Tourism and support for the racers and others resulted in “one incredible event” with significant promise for the future. CHAMPIONS Wildwood Games Columbia County Convention & Visitors Bureau LOCATION Appling, Georgia Total Room Nights: 600 Total Economic Impact: $304,756 The Wildwood Games, a premier event for Columbia County, has doubled in economic impact since it was first offered in 2014. In addition, it has grown in participation, as well as in complexity and sophistication with multiple sports now being offered, including the showcase event, the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain National Championships as well as a trail run, open water swim and disc golf tournament. Organizers have created a strong brand recognition for the event, using the motto of ‘Own the woods.’ One direct result of this successful event is the fact that mountain bike tourism is on the rise in Columbia County. Event Series Champion CHAMPION ISSA Senior Softball Championship Series LOCATION The ISSA Senior Softball Series ran from January through October with a total of 11,398 participants in 17 different markets across the United States. Partnering destinations include: Tampa Bay, FL; Panama City, FL; Myrtle Beach, SC; Burlington NC; Manassas, VA; Charlotte, NC; Jacksonville, NC; Drifton PA; Maryville/Knoxville, TN; Sioux Falls, SD; Roanoke Valley, VA; Auburn, AL; Morgantown, WV; Crown Point, IN; Rockford, IL; Salisbury/Ocean City, MD; Cincinnati, OH; Virginia Beach; VA; Palm Springs, CA Total Room Nights: 19,224 Total Economic Impact: $12,010,531 The event drives approximately 23,000 total visitors into all markets for all 2015 events in the series. The series has the unique ability to match an event to the available facilities in order to provide all communities an opportunity to be part of this sports tourism event. A number of tournaments allow nearby communities to work together to bring an event to their destination (Roanoke Valley, for example, organized two cities and two counties to host the ISF Senior World Cup.) The ISSA events bring to town the senior players (defined as those age 50 and up), the demographic with the most disposable income. The result is positive impact for the community. Independent Event Champion CHAMPION Warrior AAA Invitational LOCATION Detroit, Michigan Sanctioned by USA Hockey, LEGACY Global Sports owns and operates the event that started in 2004. This high-profile boys’ ice hockey tournament has grown from 32 teams to 350 teams in 2015, despite the lack of CVB or sports commission support. In the face of the recent economic climate of Detroit, this tournament has grown over the last 11 years to be the secondlargest tournament in North America and the largest in Michigan. It uses multiple facilities, all within 75 minutes of one another. On the weekend the tournament was played this past October, between Friday and Sunday, there were 770 games on 43 sheets of ice in 21 different arenas. Hotels in the Detroit area were used to accommodate the athletes, their families, friends, officials and others. The city is able to benefit significantly from the event, and athletes give uniformly positive reviews, adding to the buzz. Due to lack of local governmental support for the event, as well as SDM’s own unreturned phone calls from the city, no hard data is available to report. If available, we imagine it would be impressive.
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