Highlighting the best and brightest of the sports tourism industry

In this new SPG series, Faces of Sports Tourism showcases the best and brightest of the sports tourism industry, establishing a closer connection between sports event planners and the destinations that host their tournaments. With us for the inaugural feature is Igor Bakovic, director of sports at DuPage Sports Commission and 2023 Sports Events & Tourism Association’s Rising Star award winner.

Be sure to Learn More About DuPage County Sports Facilities

Igor’s background

I was born in Bosnia, grew up in Toronto, Canada, and had the opportunity to live in seven different countries throughout my life. I initially grew up playing soccer and added basketball around the age of 8. I was very active at an early age, playing outside ‘till dark as most kids did where I was.

I started focusing on basketball a little more around the age of 14, while still playing soccer, street hockey, tennis, skiing, volleyball and other sports. I played basketball at Ryerson University in Toronto before heading to Europe to play professionally in countries like Greece and Germany.

How did you get into your current role as Director of Sports?

I found out about the role through my wife as she was the area sales director for Marriott International and worked with the DuPage CVB in her role. I went through the interview process and was offered the position. I honestly didn’t know much about the CVB and sports commission world as I only had the opportunity to meet the Meet Minneapolis team once during the time in which I represented a number of the large Marriott hotels in my previous role before coming to the DuPage Sports Commission.

What would you consider your favorite part about your job?

Talking sports all day, every day. Having the opportunity to work in a unique industry with many great people. Being able to bring various events in various sports to DuPage County and give the athletes and their families an opportunity to experience everything we have to offer.

At the same time, creating unique and memorable experiences within these events for our local residents to be a part of, whether it’s meeting collegiate or professional athletes or being part of an activation that they would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience.

What’s your favorite sport to play or watch?

As you could tell by my background, I enjoy playing various sports. The goal these days is to stay active, which sometimes is hard to do. I hope that I will have a chance to ski a good amount this winter. When I moved to the United States, college football and the NFL were mostly what I watched. I am also looking forward to the Paris Olympics in 2024.

FMC natatorium swimming event DuPage County, Illinois
DuPage County’s FMC Natatorium. Photo courtesy of DuPage Sports Commission.

Who do you root for?

I am a Nick Saban fan and have been following the Tide since Julio Jones was there. I wish they had gone on to the championship game against Texas so that we could’ve had a rematch, it would’ve been a great sendoff for Saban’s retirement. He will be missed.

I became a Tim Duncan and Spurs fan from the year he got drafted. To this day, it’s the only jersey I own. We had several tough years after the big four retired, but Wembanyama has been fun to watch. At least there’s a little more excitement now even though they are still struggling.

What is DuPage County building or renovating right now?

I wish we were building. We’ve had multiple conversations and site tours and moved the needle as we hope to bring a sports venue or complex to our county.

Recent and upcoming events in DuPage County:

DuPage Sports Commission is bringing plenty of top-notch events to Illinois, including USA Archery Indoor Nationals (regional), USA Swimming TYR Pro Swim Series, USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program and the Champions Cup and USA Flag Chicago Major, just to name a few.

Get in contact with Igor

630.575.8070 ext. 215