Region reaping benefits from sporting events

By Katie Finlon 

Visitors for sporting events in the Rockford area are expected to bring more than $800,000 into the local economy within the next month or so.

Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau officials say the recent Illinois High School Association girls bowling state finals event was expected to bring in more than $100,000. Area tourism officials say more than $700,000 in additional revenue is expected to come in with wrestling finals and a couple of basketball championships coming up in the next month.

Nick Povalitis, director of sports development at the visitor’s bureau, says anticipated revenue for March this year is up from last year due to some of those upcoming events being new to the Rockford area.

“Collectively, our 2018 calendar year would probably be on par with that of 2017, because we’ve got a lot of national championship events that were booked and on the schedule for 2018 that we did not have last calendar year,” Povalitis said.

Andrea Cook, spokeswoman for the visitor’s bureau, says sports tourism, in particular, has a wide impact in the Rockford region.

“I think it’s really important to understand that when we’re booking tournaments throughout the entire year, the dollars generated aren’t just a direct benefit to the venue hosting the tournament, but it’s a direct benefit to all of our local area businesses,” Cook said.

That includes money spent at hotels, restaurants and other attractions where a portion goes back to the visitor’s bureau for marketing purposes.

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