Sports tournaments benefit local economies

The Rockford (IL) Area Convention & Visitors Bureau will raise its game to make the most of a $55 million upgrade of regional sports venues expected to attract millions of dollars in visitor spending.

The bureau recorded its first win last week for the $24 million sports complex under construction downtown. The indoor venue will host the AAU 6th Grade Girls Basketball Tournament in midsummer 2018, luring an estimated 3,500 people to town who are projected to spend $750,000 while they’re here. The riverfront facility won’t open for year, but it’s fueling nearly $120 million worth of development that’s on the drawing board, including two hotels.

The tourism bureau spends $500,000 a year on marketing to lure sports tournaments to the region. John Groh, the bureau’s president/CEO, said his agency will need more personnel to capitalize on the downtown venue and a $31 million expansion on tap at Sportscore Two in Loves Park.

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