OAK BROOK, IL — DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau (DuPage CVB) Chairman Larry Forssberg, and Executive Director Beth Marchetti announced the Board of Directors has ratified the recommendation of its Sports Tourism Advisory Committee to create a sports commission for DuPage County. Following a multi-phase assessment of market potential, conducted by Sports Facility Advisory (SFA) and Huddle Up Group, two industry-leading sports development consulting groups, research and analysis revealed that by expanding its sales efforts into the sports tourism market, a significant opportunity exists to grow visitation and ultimately secure new tax revenue for DuPage County.
Sports tourism, one of the fastest growing sectors in the travel industry, was originally identified as a potential growth market for DuPage in the organization’s master plan for the future.
“The DuPage CVB continues to develop new projects that are critical to the growth and prosperity of economic development through the visitor industry, while at the same time enhancing quality of life for the nearly one million residents of DuPage County,” said Forssberg. “Investing in sports tourism is an opportunity to further build upon the already significant legacy of sports in DuPage – Polo, PGA Championship, Ryder Cup, USBC Bowling, Bulls/Sox Academy and more.”
The DuPage Sports Commission will operate as a department within the DuPage CVB with grant money from its 2020 budget and private sponsorships and will evolve in phases. The DuPage Sports Commission will officially launch at a special event on May 10, 2019 at Cantigny Park.
This announcement comes at the precise time of the inaugural launch of the DuPage Coalition for Tourism, which aims at educating our leaders and residents on the importance of the hospitality industry, as well as increased financial investment in DuPage County for economic development, revenues and quality of place.
The Sports Tourism Advisory Committee, together with the DuPage CVB Board of Directors have identified three key goals for a successful sports tourism program, including:
1. Gaining awareness as a regional sports tourism destination, ultimately driving increased overnight stays to the more than 100 hotels throughout the County
2. Attracting and retaining events that are large enough to spread economic impact across the County
3. Determining how sports tourism developments can benefit the recreational needs of DuPage residents and park districts
While meetings and group business continue to be a focal point, the DuPage CVB has booked more than 60 sports events and tournaments over the past four years, which represent more than 60,000 visitors who generated more than 74,000 hotel overnight stays and an estimated $12.5 million in direct spending.
“DuPage has an impressive history with successful high-profile sports events that generate significant visitation and economic impact for communities,” said Marchetti. “We are doing this on the heels of several venue developments which have the potential to bring regular national championship events to the County, and further enhance our efforts to make DuPage more competitive in this space.”