–submitted by Linda Maremont; photo by Karl Wellensiek
Do you know what the Madison Area Sports Commission does? Deb Archer and Jamie Patrick, leaders of the Madison Area Sports Commission, provided a great education for many of us at this week’s meeting. As the President & CEO of the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau, Deb talked about the lengthy research that had been done over a number of years regarding the benefits of hosting sporting events in the Madison area. During the economic downturn in 2008, they realized that while the economy suffered significant blows in other areas of tourism, the sporting events that lured visitors to Madison were virtually recession proof, and knew they were on the right track.
The Sports Commission was formally founded in 2010 with the goal of focusing on bringing additional sports tourism events to the local community that would in turn have a significant positive economic impact. Since the inception of the Commission five years ago, there has been $48,000,000 in direct spending in the community through sports tourism. There were 36 sporting events in 2014 alone that were hosted in the Madison area.
Through a rigorous 18-step sales process that can take months or years to bear fruit, the Commission is working toward their goal to make the area the “championship capital” for local, regional, national and international sporting events. In March, Madison will be the proud host of the 100th Anniversary of the Boys State Basketball Championships.
The Commission is also focusing on product development in order to determine whether there are additional specialized sporting facilities that may be worth consideration that would help attract additional sporting championships and also afford more options for the local residents.
The great success our community has enjoyed recently in numerous rankings touting Madison as a great place to live, work and play helps underscore our community as a viable option to host championship events as well and bring more tourism dollars to the area.