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Erie Sports Commission’s 10th Year Set Multiple Organizational Records

EIA Wrestling 007 March 19 2022 1 v2

Erie, Pa: Celebrating a decade of promoting Erie County as a premier, four-season sporting event destination, the Erie Sports Commission broke organizational records in 2022 by hosting more events than ever before and generating nearly $21 million in estimated economic impact for the first time.

“When you look at the numbers for 2022, one thing is clear: the sports tourism industry is fully back, and perhaps better than ever,” Erie Sports Commission Executive Director Mark Jeanneret said. “I’ve had the great fortune of seeing this organization grow and transform almost since the beginning, and it’s gratifying to see how large of an industry sports tourism in Erie has become with a passionate group of cheerleaders here to promote the county and support events.”

The ESC hosted 74 events in 2022 – a new high – that took place over 166 event days throughout the year. Those events generated an estimated $20.8 million in economic impact across the county. In 2022, the ESC also hosted its 500th event since the founding of the organization.

The two largest drivers of economic impact in 2022 were a state championship youth wrestling tournament and a locally-run youth girls hockey tournament, but Erie also continued to receive national attention by hosting several high-profile events.

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Keystone State Wrestling Championships

Erie Insurance Arena provided a championship atmosphere for nearly 2,000 boys and girls wrestlers as they competed in the 2022 Keystone State Wrestling Championships in March. The event was recognized as a Champion of Economic Impact by Sports Destination Management after generating $3.3 million in estimated economic impact, a new high for a single event weekend hosted by the ESC, and more than 4,500 hotel room nights.

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Sarah Backstrom Memorial Girls Hockey Tournament

One of the longest-running all-girls youth hockey tournaments in the U.S. and Canada, the Sarah Backstrom Memorial Girls Hockey Tournament has been restored to its former size by Lake Effect Hockey. The 2022 edition saw more than 1,100 athletes compete over four February days, generating more than $2.4 million in estimated economic impact and also earning recognition as a Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism.

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The Great Race

Erie served as an overnight stop for the 2022 edition of The Great Race in June as 200 vintage and antique cars from around the country rolled into Perry Square. Thousands of visitors were able to get up close (and inside) the cars as they lined State Street, and the drivers were treated to a dinner inside the newly-renovated Warner Theatre.

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Strongman Corporation National Championships

More than 200 strongmen and women representing 37 states traveled to Erie in October in pursuit of a national title at the 2022 Strongman Corporation National Championships. Held at the Bayfront Convention Center and streamed online more than 20,000 times, the event challenged participating athletes with six disciplines over two days.

In addition to the two Champions of Economic Impact awards, Erie was also recognized multiple times by SportsEvents Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, as ERIEBANK Sports Park was named the All-Star Multi-Purpose Sports Venue and the ESC was recognized for its partnership with the VNEA for their PA State 8-Ball Tournament, winning Best Long-Term Partnership Between Planner & Destination. Erie was also included in the top three of five other awards.