“We’re excited to be part of this event,” says SFA COO, Evan Eleff. “We work with communities across the country to plan and finance their sports tourism complexes, local recreation facilities, and event centers, but Illinois has always been a special place to us because it has such a strong parks and recreation force.”
According to a report from the National Recreation and Park Association, Illinois has the second highest park and recreation economic impact output of any in the United States, coming in at an impressive $10.6 billion dollars in 2015 and finishing just behind California. This number does not include the impact of the travel sports industry, which is often reported through convention and visitors bureaus.
In DuPage County, there is a multi-phase assessment of market potential under way with a final recommendation expected in 2018. Following an initial market assessment by SFA, the DCVB has retained the Huddle Up Group, to further evaluate assets throughout DuPage County and ultimately recommend an action plan to the DCVB Board of Directors and to the Sports Advisory Committee. The assessment will consider the required resources to offer a comprehensive program that positions DuPage County to be regionally competitive, including new facility development.
The director of business development for the DuPage CVB, Justin Roach, co-organized the event. “It’s about creating a sense of camaraderie for sports tourism advocates and leaders in Illinois,” said Roach. “We’re all working towards the same goals and objectives to increase tourism and economic development through sports. The sports travel industry is booming and we want Illinois to be at the forefront of the growth.”
According to a report from Wintergreen Research, Inc., the sports travel industry is predicted to double in size from $15 billion to $30 billion in the next 7-10 years. Of the $15 billion spent in 2016, $6.5 billion is sports travel (hotel, bus, airfare, etc.).
Sports tourism industry leader and founder of the Huddle Up Group, Jon Schmieder added, “To maximize their investment and potential impact, communities need to be strategic in their sports tourism game plan. They need to be focused on the mission and the vision for their tourism development efforts from the very beginning – which is what this workshop is designed to do.”
For those Illinois convention and visitors bureaus, park districts, village and city administrators, and facility operators interested in the event, please contact Justin Roach: (630) 575-8070 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you are a convention and visitors bureaus or park district employee, village or city administrator, or facility operator and would like to host an event like this in your home state/region, please contact SFA Vice President, Ashley Whittaker: (727) 474-3845 or email@example.com.