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National Sports Tourism Consulting Firm Presents Findings of a County-Wide Sports Facility Audit

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Erie, Pa: Huddle Up Group, a national sports tourism consulting firm, presented their findings of a county-wide sports facility audit to a group of 50 of Erie County’s sports and tourism stakeholders Friday morning in the Garden Atrium at the Ambassador Banquet & Conference Center.

Huddle Up Group Founder and CEO Jon Schmieder provided recommendations to the group, including creating a regional sports facility master plan to help unite efforts to expand or enhance sports facility offerings. He also provided guidance on sustainable funding mechanisms to support development.

“Working with Jon and his team over the last few months has been an enlightening experience,” Erie Sports Commission Executive Director Mark Jeanneret said. “I’m excited by the amount of interest and participation in this process we have seen from community leaders, and I know we can use this momentum to start putting these recommendations into place immediately.”

The group’s report also provided some long-term secondary recommendations, noting that a large, well-equipped, tournament-friendly baseball/softball diamonds facility could help generate nearly $7 million in economic impact annually. Also included were suggestions to enhance the facilities surrounding Presque Isle Bay to allow it to host larger events, creating an expanded flat fields facility and the value that a new indoor court venue could provide.

Over the course of their study, the Huddle Up Group visited more than 40 sports and event venues in Erie County, interviewed multiple Erie-area leaders and conducted a survey of nearly 80 Erie sports stakeholders.

“Throughout our audit, we have seen unprecedented interest and participation from not just the Erie Sports Commission, but from Erie sports stakeholders throughout the County,” Schmieder said. “With that level of cooperation, Erie is in a great position to solidify itself as a strong sports tourism destination in the Northeast as they implement these recommendations.”

As part of the process, Schmieder also presented the results of Erie’s evaluation in their proprietary Sports Tourism Index, which compared Erie’s offerings to similar-sized destinations throughout the country. The report suggests that Erie’s appeal as a destination and number of events hosted annually are on par nationally, while the level of community support and organizational structure of the Erie Sports Commission position Erie well to attract and host future sporting events.