2019 Event Recap and Year in Review
In its first full year of operation under Executive Director Mark Jeanneret, 2019 marked the biggest and busiest year ever for the Erie Sports Commission. In 2019, the ESC hosted and supported 74 events that spanned 174 event days, a 50% increase from 2018. These events generated an estimated $19.5 million in economic impact.
The year was highlighted by the return of the PA USBC Open Championship, which was last hosted in Erie in 2014. The event saw more than 4,200 bowlers from across Pennsylvania compete over 10 weekends from April through June, and generated an estimated $2.2 million in economic impact. Other major events marked their return in 2019, including the longstanding Edinboro Triathlon after a one-year hiatus, The Color Run and the ESC’s Waterfront Weekend, which placed the popular Erie Poker Run again on the same weekend as the HydroFlight US Open Tour, and saw thousands of spectators on Erie’s Bayfront.
Of the 74 events supported, more than a quarter of them were new to our region. This included Rally North America, which featured 175 participants, all from out of town, starting a week-long road rally scavenger hunt in Perry Square. The Pittsburgh Broomball Club moved its annual Mid-Atlantic Broomball Championships to Erie for the first time in November, and hosted its largest-ever field over two days at ERIEBANK Sports Park.
More available ice in the region meant more opportunity for hockey, including the new Lake Effect Hockey Series, which will host five tournaments in the 2019-20 season, three new in 2019. TCS Hockey also saw major expansion to its Erie Ice Cup in September, which more than tripled its number of participating teams from 2018.
A concerted effort to secure new national events and cultivate local events will no doubt lead to another busy year in 2020. In November, the ESC announced that it won the rights to host the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Northeast Regional Championship in June, an event that will see more than 200 anglers from 11 states fish Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay with hopes to compete in the Bassmaster Classic. Emerging sports like esports, rugby and lacrosse have been a major focus in 2019 as well: three new lacrosse events have been secured for 2020 to date, including Gem City Lacrosse, hosted by the nationally-touring Lax Bash Tournaments. Major regional staples, like the Stars and Stripes Gymnastics Invitational, Champion Cheer Central, and the VNEA PA State 8-Ball Tournament will continue to provide lasting impact on the regional sports calendar.
To all who have contributed to the mission of the Erie Sports Commission in 2019 and at any time – thank you. We are looking forward to a prosperous 2020!