LCCVB Unveils Sports Marketing Initiative
Hammond – The Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Board of Directors voted to create a sports marketing division of the CVB at its monthly meeting on May 31st. The new department will be named South Shore Sports Promotions (SSSP).
Area leaders involved with amateur and professional sporting events will serve on the South Shore Sports Promotions advisory board and will assist in aggressively pursuing regional sporting events and tournaments. The SSSP will inventory all Northwest Indiana’s sporting venues, prepare bid proposals for events, arrange for facility inspections, secure room blocks for area hotels, organize local organizing committees, provide publicity and create new events and venues for markets in Lake County and the surrounding region.
Since 2000, sporting events such as track and field, basketball, bowling, and golf have brought more than 15,000 athletes and their families to Northwest Indiana. These 15,000 athletes brought an estimated $4 million in economic impact to the local economy. The CVB has a long and positive history with amateur and professional sporting events, hosting a variety of events year after year. Lake County is the only county in the nation to host 4 Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tournaments a year. Events such as the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Regional Track and Field event have been hosted in Northwest Indiana for more than a decade. In July, the AAU Regional Track and Field event in Merrillville will bring in more than 2,200 athletes to the area. The economic impact of this 2-day event is upwards of $475,000.
The SSSP will not focus solely on Lake County, but will utilize sports facilities in Lake, Porter, and LaPorte County. This will greatly impact hotel occupancy and positively increase visitation to restaurants and attractions throughout Northwest Indiana. SSSP will also actively solicit memberships from hospitality and sports facility providers from outside Lake County.
Anne Van Keppel, Assistant Director of Athletics Marketing with Valparaiso University commented, "I think this is a great venture that will benefit the entire South Shore region. It would be great to see all three counties working together to help enhance the visibility of athletics in Northwest Indiana." Valparaiso University has held the Lutheran Basketball Tournament for 35 years. The event creates an economic impact of more than $300,000 and approximately 2,500 hotel room nights in Lake and Porter Counties.
The new department, South Shore Sports Promotions, will open the door not only to typical sporting events such as basketball, bowling, and soccer; but will offer opportunities to host non-traditional events such as table tennis, disk golf, and weightlifting and create new events exclusively for Northwest Indiana.
Marci Crozier, General Manager of Omni 41 Health and Fitness in Schererville agrees, “It is wonderful to see the LCCVB, once again, working towards ambitious goals to create events that welcome guests to Northwest Indiana.” Crozier continued to say, “Along with the current sports strengths in the area, the SSSP will act as a clearing house by using their expertise in coordinating facilities, calendars and financial resources to maximize the potential of attracting other prestigious events to Northwest Indiana. They can assure credibility and professional standards to these organizations.”
Joe Mis, Regional Sports Coordinator for AAU and founder of the Hammond Track Club is an advocate for the new department of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, “The amateur sports market is rapidly growing in Northwest Indiana and the need for a sports-focused department is how to stay ahead of the competition.”
This department of the Lake County CVB is also a member of the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC). NASC is the sports event industry’s leading networking organization with more than 450 members nationwide.