Sports play in the Peoria area.

From youth events to national championships, the Peoria area is making a name for itself in the sports event market. With a variety of venues to accommodate a wide range of activities, you will find a multitude of sporting events being hosted in our communities. In the past year, some notable events have included the Heart of Illinois Senior Games; National Softball Association Class B Girls’ World Series Championship; numerous Illinois High School Association finals, including chess and speech; and the Illinois Valley Striders’ internationally known Steamboat Classic.

But what does this mean for the region? It generates additional economic impact, for starters. For example, when the average tour group comes into Peoria on a motor coach, they bring in 55 people and use 25 hotel rooms—adding about $9,150 to area coffers. A convention with 225 delegates utilizing 250 hotel rooms (delegates usually share rooms, but stay multiple nights) will bring in about $65,500 to the region. By comparison, when a sports organization hosts an event—bringing 40 teams, with 15 players per team, and using 600 rooms—the result is $135,000 brought into the Peoria area. Each event generates new dollars in the region—money that would not be spent here if it were not taking place.

The Peoria Area Convention & Visitors Bureau attends trade shows throughout the country to develop relationships with event organizers, rights holders and national governing bodies and persuade them to host their next event here. Often times, the PACVB will host a state event in hopes of getting a regional or national event as a result.

Such was the case with the World Sport Stacking Association’s Regional Championships. In 2009, the PACVB hosted the Illinois State Sport Stacking Competition, which brought in more than 75 participants, from age four to 65. After hosting the event for two years, the PACVB was granted the regional competition in 2011, increasing the number of participants to more than 100, and it is in talks to host the national championships in the future.

The PACVB also creates sporting events for the area. The Mizuno Super 60 Softball Classic is an event funded by the PACVB and local sponsors that brings in the top 60 high school senior softball players and places them on teams according to their location in the state. The girls then play two games to see which All-Star team is crowned the champion.

In 2010, the PACVB was involved in more than 60 sporting events. This involvement ranges from setting up hotel blocks, writing press releases, securing volunteers, assisting with the venue, and providing information, maps and coupons to the participants, families and fans.

But the PACVB can’t do it alone. Without the community’s support of Peoria-area sports, our clients wouldn’t keep returning. This was proven with the landing of the IHSA Class 1A and 2A State Baseball Finals, which will return to the Peoria area at O’Brien Field on June 3rd and 4th.

The support our community puts forth for the IHSA State Boys Basketball Finals each year proved to the IHSA that the Peoria area can back up its reputation for outstanding sporting events. With a database of more than 700 volunteers—with interests ranging from volleyball and football to badminton and Frisbee golf—there is no shortage of help for Peoria area events. If you are interested in becoming a Peoria area sports volunteer, contact the PACVB today to sign up, or visit peoria.org and fill out the volunteer form. iBi