Athens, GA (April 8, 2019) - On Thursday, March 28, at Terrapin Brewery, the Athens CVB brought together local sports and recreational stakeholders to discuss growing sports tourism in the community. Randy DuTeau, vice president of strategy and development of Due North Sports Partners, presented key findings and recommendations from his community assessment on the viability of pursuing and growing the sports tourism market.
The Athens CVB partnered with Due North Sports for a community assessment, an examination of the strengths and challenges Athens has in bringing sport-related events to the area. This research included reports, documents, popular venues, and stakeholder feedback.
DuTeau was accompanied by Athens CVB sales manager, Jay Boling on a site inspection of 16 venues that are considered suitable spots for sport-related events in July 2018. DuTeau met with and interviewed 14 stakeholders and later conducted phone interviews with three stakeholders. Stakeholders included representatives of the University of Georgia Athletic Association, Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services, and The Classic Center.
“Athens is enriched with a strong cycling culture, access to high-level Division I athletics, and thriving arts and music scene. With an estimated economic impact of $11.4 billion in the United States, sports tourism is a viable pathway for generating visitor spending and promoting a destination’s local attractions and outlying districts,” said Boling. “The unique reputation of Athens as an eclectic college town with quality venues and a growing multi-use trail system has only strengthened our value proposition to sport and recreation planners.”
Athens is uniquely situated as an iconic sports town. The University of Georgia’s national sports reputation draws not only NCAA tournaments, but also interest from sports planners of all types. Sports tourism in Athens has resulted in an economic impact of $4.7 million dollars from more than 50 events booked by the CVB during the 2018 fiscal year.
The Due North Sports Partners report concluded that Athens is a well-established destination for sports tourism, with more than 20 venues and facilities as well as local partnership opportunities. The report outlines recommendations for growing sports tourism as part of Athens’ economic development strategy. Recommendations include the creation of a sports advisory committee, development of a marketing and communications strategy around the Athens sports brand and targeting specific sports events to bring to Athens.
“Athens is well-equipped to provide excellent service, to sport-related events as well as an enjoyable experience overall,” said DuTeau, “not only because of the college and Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services but also because of the restaurants and businesses that make up the town.”
Sports tourism will bring additional visitor spending; providing an increase in restaurant visits, retail purchases, hotel stays and an increase in expenses for local attractions and recreation.
The Athens CVB plans to create a sports advisory committee to assist in identifying and pursuing new sports event business that would be a good fit for Athens.
To view the community assessment report, click here.
About The Athens Convention and Visitor's Bureau
The Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau is a proactive sales and marketing organization whose primary goal is to increase the economic impact of the hospitality and visitor industry by attracting individual visitors, group tours and meetings and conventions to Athens. Tourism WORKS for Athens, contributing $310.17 million in spending, 2,872 jobs and $21.24 million in local and state tax revenue in 2017.
About Due North Sports Partners
Due North Sports Partners’ expansive and unique experience provides the background for understanding the dynamics of sports tourism. While serving event owners in pursuit of management strategies and suitable host destinations, Due North Sports Partners assists communities through identification, implementation and execution of winning strategies to attract events that align with their unique assets and community objectives.