Delaware launches Sports Commission
Friday, November 6th, 2009
The State of Delaware believes hosting sporting events can have a significant economic impact and hopes establishing The Delaware Sports Commission can help the State grab a bigger piece of that pie.
"I think could be big." said Governor Jack Markell. "It's gonna generate money for a hotels, and our restaurants, and our stores and that's a big deal. It provides opportunities for kids to meet other kids from different areas in competition which is good for their development. So, I think its a great combination of what's good for kids and what's good for our economy."
The Delaware Sports Commission's executive director Matthew Sparks says Delaware has missed out on the opportunity to host events previously by not having a single entity to coordinate recruiting and bidding for those events.
"What the commission can provide is the conduit between the local communities and the particular event." Sparks said. "What we're looking to do is create a collaborative effort throughout the state that can really come together and create a positive experience for the event."
The DSC' will pursue regional, national and international sporting events, both amateur and professional, but the initial focus will likely be on youth and amateur events.
"We're never going to host the Super Bowl or the NCAA Final Four in Delaware, but there's are a lot of events out there that are looking for sites" said DSC President and University of Delaware sports management professor Matt Robinson. "We're going to be finding those events that are really driving hotel stays, and again the youth events are very profitable because a 12 year old can't come by themselves, they're bringing the family. So yeah, we're definitely looking at that niche."
"Families travel and the will spend two, three, four days, a week sometimes, at these tournaments." added Governor Markell.
State officials point to the success of one event already in Delaware, the Senior Little League Softball World Series in Roxanna.
"This is big business" said Alan Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office, citing the 6,000 room nights the Softball World Series generates, which alone bring an 1.6 million dollars to the state, according to DEDO.
The first Delaware Sports Commission sanctioned event will be the 2010 Eastern Sectional Championship for the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the University of Delaware Fred Rust Ice Arena.
Long term, Saprks feels the Sports Commission will be able to move beyond recruiting events.
"Our goal is to help with managing sporting events, coordinating volunteers, but also working with youth sporing organizations and that push to bring possible to facilities into the state that could open up and open the door for more opportunities that maybe weren't there before." said Sparks.