Hammond – January 26, 2006 – With the Super Bowl just around the corner, you would think it would be tough to get sports event leaders to concentrate on anything else, however, the Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau will host more than 35 regional sports leaders at the Northwest Indiana Sports Workshop on February 2nd and 3rd at the Indiana Welcome Center, located at I-80/94 & Kennedy Avenue.

The two day workshop is the first step the Bureau will take to facilitate communication, and the exchange of information, on the value of creating a sports commission. A sports commission would enable the region to further tap a market that has already brought more than 10,000 athletes and 4 million dollars in economic impact to Northwest Indiana over the past five years.

In addition to allowing local sports associations; such as USA Weightlifting, National Softball Association, and Parks and Recreation Departments, an opportunity to share ideas, address concerns, and further their knowledge of sports commissions the event will cover a variety of specific topics. Topics will include; the long term benefits and economic impact of a sports commission, the necessary strategic planning and structure of such an organization, and the fundraising and sponsorship necessary for a sports commission to be successful.

“With a streamlined effort Northwest Indiana has the potential to increase the number of events and tournaments from the sports market. Competition for amateur events is fierce in the Midwest and it is refreshing to see the Bureau take the lead on this project,” said the AAU Regional Track & Field Director, Joe Mis.

The Bureau secured the nation’s foremost sports commission expert, Don Schumacher, executive director of the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC). Schumacher brings 40 years of experience in the sports related travel industry, including co-founding the NASC, he will also be the featured keynote speaker at the workshop where he will specifically discuss the process of creation and the long term benefits of a sports commission for Northwest Indiana.

“The Lake County CVB and the hospitality industry understands the need for a sports commission,” said President/CEO of LCCVB, Speros A. Batistatos, “we believe it will be critical to increasing occupancies in hotels and restaurants throughout the region during off-peak periods.”

The Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a sales and marketing organization that leads and supports the hospitality industry through the marketing and development of the county.