2018 Event Recap and Year in Review
In its seventh year of operations, 2018 was both a banner year and a year of change for the Erie Sports Commission. Mark Jeanneret took over for Ron Sertz as executive director, and Ben Huggler was brought on board to fill his position as event services manager. Through it all, Ron remains an active member of our organization, providing his years of expertise in a consulting position. In December, Michelle Callahan joined the ESC team as a part-time special projects assistant.
Through our year of transition, the ESC hosted and supported 58 events. These events drew an estimated $13 million in economic impact to our region and covered 115.5 event days. We are very proud to have broadened the types of events being held here, and to have supported several major national events, including the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA) National Championships and the College Hockey Inc. Ice Breaker Tournament, presented by LECOM.
By our estimates, more than 62,000 total patrons either attended or participated in supported events. Many of these events either raised funds for or donated a portion of their proceeds to local charities, including the Fallen Soldiers Picnic Fund, Special Olympics PA, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Project Healing Waters, the Barber National Institute, Semper Fi Fund, Walnut Creek Baptist Church, YMCA of Greater Erie, EmergyCare, WQLN, Make a Wish and Autism Society of NWPA.
Events spanned every season, once again proving that Erie's ability to host sporting events is not defined by the weather. Fourteen events were hosted in the spring, with 20 in the summer, eight in the fall and 16 winter events.
We were also honored to have won the 2018 Marketing Campaign of the Year award from the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) for our “Pick Erie or Else” campaign, which ran out of market. It was the second time we have been recognized in the national marketing category in the last three years.
The ESC was featured in 14 national trade features, including a feature written by executive director Jeanneret, "Event Retention: Four Ways to Create a Long-Term Relationship" for Sports Destination Management's September 2018 issue.
Renovations at ERIEBANK Sports Park opened new possibilities for the Erie Sports Commission in 2018, with the sale of the property and addition of two NHL-sized ice rinks providing opportunities to host hockey tournaments and events in 2019 and beyond. Since its purchase by Greater Regional Erie Athletic Team Training (GREATT), the ESC has hosted several national tournaments at the facility, including the 3v3 Live National Soccer Tour, USA Ultimate Founders Mixed Sectional Championship and Flag Football World Championship Tour PA State Championship, with new events planned for 2019.
None of our operations would be possible without the support of the many, many great partners of the ESC. Thank you to all of those who have made 2018 a successful year. We are looking forward to a prosperous 2019!