As we close out what perhaps has been the most tenuous year any of us has ever experienced, the Erie Sports Commission team is choosing to focus on what we were able to accomplish.
Despite being faced with what often felt like insurmountable hardship, despite significant losses, despite one challenge after another, despite sports tourism being brought to a halt, 2020 still provided us new opportunities to learn and grow.
In 2020, the Erie Sports Commission (ESC) safely hosted and supported 29 events. Those events generated an estimated $9 million in impact across Erie County. That $9 million helped to support our region’s hotels, restaurants and attractions and their employees during an extremely challenging time.
Of those events, seven were brand new. Hockey tournaments continued to prove impactful in our region during the winter months, as four tournaments were hosted in January and February. Included was the Erie MLK Ice Cup, hosted by TCS Hockey, a first for our region. That tournament saw more than 60 teams compete (some from as far away as Colorado).
The ESC also hosted two major youth lacrosse tournaments for the first time in 2020, as Lax Bash Tournaments brought Gem City Lacrosse and The Boo Bash to ERIEBANK Sports Park in July and October.
To address safety, our team was proactive in developing several initiatives that would benefit our partners throughout the pandemic. Erie County is extremely fortunate to have its own Department of Health, whose employees were very generous with their time – helping us interpret restrictions and assist in reviewing safety plans to ensure events would be executed under the safest conditions. Our newly-formed Medical Advisory Committee, made up of medical experts from UPMC Hamot, St. Vincent Hospital and LECOM, also advised us and recommended event best practices. The expertise of these public health officials and health care professionals were vital to the execution of these events. Along with our event partners, we remain ever grateful to them.
Everything we have done this year leads us to feel prepared for and optimistic about the future. Erie is slated to host and support three NCAA Championship events in three months in 2021, starting with the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four in March. Already, 39 events are on the ESC schedule for 2021, including the major hockey and lacrosse tournaments mentioned above.
In 2021, we will remain steadfast to our mission: to bring events to Erie County and help make them happen, all as safely and securely as possible!