Sports commission predicts sold-out hotels
Hotels in the area could sell-out on several upcoming weekends as a series of sporting events draw visitors and millions in economic impact into the market.
The West Michigan Sports Commission said this week that it predicts four weekends of sporting events could generate more than $14.3 million in economic impact for the area.
Many of the events will be held at the Art Van Sports Complex in Plainfield Township, which features a number of baseball and softball fields.
"Sports tourism continues to have a significant impact in West Michigan, and this summer is a perfect case in point,” said Mike Guswiler, president, West Michigan Sports Commission. “Between a handful of large tournaments and the Art Van Sports Complex open for its first full year of business, we’ll be bursting at the seams as a county.”
Guswiler said the weekends should do exactly what the nonprofit commission was created to do: serve as an economic generator by attracting sporting events and their associated athletes, families and spectators to the area.
This weekend is expected to bring in nearly $1.16 million to the area with the 2015 Lakeshore Volleyfest AAU Super Regional.
More than 480 volleyball teams will take the courts at DeVos Place.
Out at Art Van Sports Complex, 28 teams will take part in the USSSA River City Global Qualifier.
The weekend of May 29-31 is expected to bring in nearly $4.5 million to the area.
The Great Lakes Major NIT USSSA Baseball Tournament will see 30 teams in action at the Art Van Sports Complex.
The MHSAA Track & Field Finals will be held at several high schools.
The 2015 Michigan Juniors Volleyball Association State Championships will see 500 teams in action at 15 locations.
The commission’s centerpiece, the Meijer State Games of Michigan, will highlight events at 34 locations in the area, generating an expected $3.1 million in impact during the June 26-28 weekend.
Other events that weekend include the Herman Miller Brickyard Criterium, MSU Gran Fondo, State Wars Michigan Hockey, State Wars Michigan Baseball and Blue Chip Summer Slam.
The entire weekend is expected to generate $4.48 million in economic activity.
The last weekend in July is expected to generate about $4.2 million in impact with the Game Day USA National Championships, which will see the Art Van Sports Complex at capacity with 60 teams.
The Young Champions Cheerleading National Competition will take place that weekend at DeVos Place.
The Meijer LPGA Classic will highlight the weekend at Blythefield Country Club, with an estimated economic impact of $3 million.
Baseball and softball demand
The Art Van Sports Complex opened for the season last weekend with a local high school double header and the USSSA Softball Showcase event.
This weekend’s River City Global Qualifier will begin a stretch of 16 straight weekends of tournaments at Art Van Sports Complex.
All told, the complex is booked for 21 of 25 playable weekends. Some of the tournaments exceed the 60-team capacity of the facility.
“If we continue booking tournaments of this size at this rate, we will need to begin phase-two construction of another quad of baseball/softball fields sooner than later,” Guswiler said.