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Sports Tourism Leads Tourism Industry Recovery in Erie County

Friday Apr 30th, 2021
National Travel and Tourism Week Highlights “Power of Travel” May 2-5, 2021

During National Travel and Tourism Week, the Erie Sports Commission (ESC) is highlighting the impact that sports tourism has had on overall pandemic recovery in Erie County, PA.

Following Pennsylvania’s pause on youth sports that ended in early January 2021, tourism-generating sporting events hosted by the ESC have had a staggering impact on Erie County:

  • Twenty events hosted over 17 weekends (January 9 through May 2)
  • $6.5 million in estimated economic impact
  • NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championships (March 15-20) saw nearly 3,000 hotel room nights, national broadcast on ESPNU
  • Events spanned 48 event days

“We work with a remarkable group of sporting event directors who are committed to not just putting together competitive events that allow these athletes to remain active and compete, but doing so with safety top of mind,” said Mark Jeanneret, executive director of the Erie Sports Commission. “Throughout 2021, we have seen again and again the diligence of these individuals and groups as they’ve found new ways to host events while maintaining community safety.”

Jeanneret continued: “This year, we’ve seen parents bring their volleyball players to Erie to compete while they watched the livestream on the phones in their cars. Lake Effect Hockey shipped hundreds of COVID-19 tests to out-of-state hockey players to take in advance of competing here. We’ve seen cheer, gymnastics and wrestling events completely rework their tournament practices in order to spread out athletes and maintain capacity levels. The diligence displayed by our partners has been remarkable and has led to major returns for our hotels, restaurants and attractions. That diligence is going to carry us throughout the remainder of the year.”

Currently, the ESC has 56 events scheduled on the ESC its 2021 calendar, down only 25% from 2019. The ESC hosted and supported an organization-high 74 events in 2019, the same year when sports tourism hit its peak nationwide.

According to Sports Events & Tourism Association (Sports ETA)’s 2019 State of the Industry Report, sports travelers, event organizers and venues spent $45.1 billion in 2019, generating $103.3 billion in economic impact.

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