Economic Development, Sports Business, and Travel & Tourism

Sports tournaments generating $3.3M impact

August 9, 2019
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Art Van Sports Complex
The Art Van Sports Complex in Plainfield Township features a number of baseball and softball fields and is designed to attract tournaments. Courtesy West Michigan Sports Commission

Four national sports tournaments are expected to make a significant economic impact on Grand Rapids.

BMX racing, rowing, men’s fast-pitch softball and men’s slow-pitch softball events are expected to pull in $3.3 million with thousands of athletes and spectators filling 3,817 West Michigan hotel room nights, according to the West Michigan Sports Commission.

The four national sports championships all will play out at various locations across the city for four weekends this month.

The USA BMX Great Lakes Nationals takes place Friday-Sunday at Rock City BMX, 3300 10 Mile Road, in Plainfield Township. Between 800 and 1,000 riders, plus 2,000 spectators from the United States and Canada, are expected to attend. The event is expected to create $817,184 in direct visitor spending with 1,500 hotel room nights filled.

“We are excited to have a national BMX event in West Michigan, something we have looked forward to hosting since we broke ground six years ago,” said Charlie Salisbury, president of West Michigan BMX. “This is a big deal to put Michigan on the map in the sport of BMX racing, plus showcase our beautiful, state-of-the-art BMX track at Rock City BMX to all the racers.”

More information about USA BMX Great Lakes Nationals is available at its website.

USRowing Masters National Championships will be returning to Grand Rapids Aug. 15-18 at Riverside Park, 2001 Monroe NW. It is expected to generate an estimated $1.8 million while filling 1,725 hotel room nights and drawing 5,000 spectators, according to WMSC.

There will be 50 rowing events and more than 120 races daily along a 1,000-meter, six-lane river course that begins in the middle of Riverside Park near Guild Street and ends at the south end of Riverside Park near Knapp Street.

“We are so excited to come back to Grand Rapids,” said James Rawson, USRowing regatta director. “The athletes had such a great time here in 2014 that they insisted that we return — and this time, they brought even more of their teammates. We have 600 more entries this year than we did in 2014, and it is going to be a very full racing schedule. When the racing is done each day, the regatta beer garden will be busy, and the athletes will have a great time exploring Grand Rapids.”

More information is available at the USRowing Masters National Championship website.

A pair of USA Softball Men’s Championships at the Art Van Sports Complex, 3300 10 Mile Road NE, Plainfield Township, close out the month.

The Men’s Fastpitch Open East National Championship takes place Aug. 23-25, followed the next weekend by the Men’s Class D Northern Slowpitch National Championship. Combined, the softball tournaments will generate more than $680,000 in direct visitor spending and account for almost 600 hotel night stays, according to WMSC.

“These championships present an exciting opportunity to show off the Art Van Sports Complex, one of the best facilities not only in Michigan but in the Midwest,” said Darrin Duistermars, Midwest region vice president to the USA Softball board of directors.

For more information about the men’s softball championships, visit usasoftballgr.com.

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