South Shore Sporting Events Stabilize Region Economy

Approximately 56,000 athletes will visit the South Shore in 2009

Valparaiso, IN - The South Shore is hosting the 63rd Annual Lutheran Basketball Association of American (LBAA) Invitational Tournament at Valparaiso University (VU).  The 2009 LBAA Invitational Tournament will take place from March 26th to March 29th bringing nearly 3,000 athletes, cheerleaders, coaches and families to Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties. South Shore Sports Promotions (SSSP), a department of the South Shore CVA and VU host the event and manage the room reservations for dozens of hotels throughout the tri-county region.

Athletes and coaches will purchase more than 1,300 rooms in Lake County; more than 1,200 in Porter County and approximately 30 hotel rooms in LaPorte County for the weekend basketball tournament. These rooms are booked through South Shore Sports Promotions online housing system and are tracked room by room; the SSCVA is one of only two systems of this kind statewide. "Our online housing system allows us to enhance the visitors' experience. We are able to send direct emails to the visitor with area information like maps, coupons for restaurants and attractions. We are also the only CVB that can quantify the results from each event," said Jason Sands, Director of Sports Development, SSSP.   

Lutheran Basketball National Tournament will generate more than $700,000 of spending in the local economy. Teams will gather each night to eat at restaurants, visit attractions and shop in the area. "This brings middle school and high school teams from across the country.

This year, new teams are coming from as far away as Tacoma, Washington and Boise, Idaho for competition in the tournament. So it truly is a national tourney in scope. The Board of Directors of the sponsoring LBAA look forward to bringing this event to VU for many years to come," said Rod Moore, Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer for Valparaiso University.

South Shore Sports Promotions, despite the economic downturn, has brought in thousands of other athletes, coaches and families (i.e. visitors) to northwest Indiana during the first quarter including the AAU Indoor Track and Field National Event in Merrillville and the AAU Boys Super Regional Basketball Tournament at Purdue Calumet, the Highland Lincoln Center and Omni 41. "The sports market, here along the South Shore, is continuing to grow and its due in part to the streamlined services we offer and popularity of well established events," stated Jason Sands, SSSP. The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Indoor Track and Field National Tournament was held in Merrillville, February 20 - 22, and was the largest AAU Track and Field event held here in nearly a decade, more than 884 athletes competed. And AAU Boys Super Regional Basketball Tournament also hit record numbers; with 64 teams, it is one of the largest AAU Super Regionals in the Midwest. AAU Boys Super Regional Basketball was held in Highland March 7 and 8 and brought athletes from more than 20 states.

"Families are cutting back on spending in all areas, including leisure travel; the sports event market seems to be holding steady and in some cases, like AAU, even growing. Parents are not as likely to cut their children's sporting events from their budget," said Erika Scheeringa, Director of Public and Community Relations, SSCVA.

The South Shore CVA and South Shore Sports Promotions are looking toward a busy year, with more than 18 sporting events booked from February to September. Expect to see more than 56,000 athletes and their families in the South Shore. For a complete list of 2009 sports events hosted by SSSP visit http://www.southshorecva.com/ and click on the "2009 Sports Bookings" banner. To learn more about the Lutheran Basketball Tournament, please visit, http://www.lbaa.org/.