City Will Help Local Organizations Bring Tournaments Here


I recently announced an innovative new grants program designed to help bring amateur sports events to our city. The grant program will help attract amateur and recreational (not professional) sporting events, to Fort Wayne to stimulate a significant amount of new money into the local economy from visitors attending as competitors or supporters of a regional or national event.

This grant program is designed to encourage local organizations to host their sports tournaments in Fort Wayne. Its purpose is to grow sports tourism, sustain jobs in our city’s hospitality and service industries and increase the economic impact from visitors’ spending. For example, IPFW’s Consumer Research Center documented that a youth basketball tournament with 300 teams generated over $1.2 million into Fort Wayne in one week.

We are in an enviable position in Fort Wayne. We have several sports complexes with the ability to draw crowds, such as Spiece, Hefner Soccer Fields and the new ice facility, to name just a few. With this program, we have an opportunity to capitalize on the existence of these venues and to offer incentives to bring tournaments in to Fort Wayne. Amateur and club sports is a growing and popular area of event marketing. In this very competitive field, we want to make sure Fort Wayne is a top-of-mind location for all sorts of tournaments and showcases.

Other benefits from this program include generating regional/national media exposure for the City of Fort Wayne; help city-owned sports venues (new ice arena, Parkview Field, Kreager Fields) and other privately-owned facilities (Spiece, the Dome, IPFW Athletics, USF, Indiana Tech) to bid for and attract sporting events; assist not-for-profits sports organizations (CVB, Sports Corporation) to attract regional or national events; and increase the quality of life for our citizens by bringing more sporting events to Fort Wayne for them to enjoy with the friends and families.

The Sports Business Development Grant Program (SBDG) will assist non-profit organizations to host, recruit or bring athletic events consisting of games, exhibitions, tournaments, and other sports-related events to Fort Wayne, Indiana.  The grants are designed to help defray the start up costs, hosting fees, promotional expenses and operating expenses to attract an event.  Events must be amateur or recreational and must meet one or more of the following criteria:

Generate out-of-city participants or spectators in significant numbers:

•2,000 or more participants from players, teams and officials

•1,000 or more hotel room nights used by attendees, either teams or spectators

•5,000 or more spectators in attendance, with 50% from outside the county

Additionally, events must generate an increase in visitor spending in the city’s hotels, restaurants and attractions while generating regional and/or national media exposure for Fort Wayne.

The first grants will help the FW CVB and FW Sports Corporation to bid against other cities

1) to host the 2010 United States Sports Specialty Association’s National Youth Basketball Championship at Spiece Fieldhouse, (9,000 people);

2) to host the new Big Ten Invitational Pre-Season Soccer Tournament (5,000) ;

and the 2010 Indiana State High School Girls Basketball Championship, which can’t be held in Indy due to a conflict (20,000).

Grant applications should be received at least 6 month prior to the event to the City of Fort Wayne Community Development Division. A maximum of $10,000 grant per organization can be awarded.  A 2nd, follow-up grant may be awarded the following year worth 50% of the original grant for the same event.

The SBDG Review Committee will consist of the President of the Convention & Visitors Bureau; the City Community Development Division Director; and President or Executive Director of the Fort Wayne Sports Corporation, and the Director of Parks and Recreation.  The Review Committee will make its recommendations to the Mayor of Fort Wayne.  I will have final approval and directed $40,000 to be set aside each calendar year to fund the SBDG.

Some examples of allowable expenses funded by the grant would include bid fees or hosting fees, bid packet preparations, advertising and media buys, and on-site hospitality expenses with the exception of alcohol. In addition, grant money could be used to production and technical expenses to organize and coordinate the sporting event, site rental, and non-monetary awards for competitors. Examples of expenses not allowed to be covered by the grant money include purchase of permanent equipment, building renovation or remodeling, and expenses for teams traveling outside of Fort Wayne to compete.

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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