SEP 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 29 of 67

²ConventionSouth ² S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 30 MARKET SEGMENT REPORT: SPORTS EVENTS & COMPETITIONS cheer competitions, martial arts and more. "By providing both a premier outdoor sports com- plex and a premier indoor event center, this gives us an opportunity to host many types of sporting events." Infrastructure enhancement is key to Bir- mingham's (Ala.) ability to score wins such as the 2017 Senior Games, 2018 Women's Open Championship and the World Games 2021, according to David Galbaugh, vice president of sports sales and marketing with the Greater Birmingham CVB. Bringing in 25,000 athletes and spectators over 14 days, the 2017 Senior Games generated a $35 million economic im- pact. "Infrastructure is what you need to host sports because really the buildings drive it first and foremost," Galbaugh said. "We have to be mindful of that and continue to develop facili- ties or we'll be left behind." Notably, earlier this year the Birmingham City Council committed to contributing $3 million a year for 30 years toward the expan- sion of the multi-venue Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC), which includes a downtown stadium and renovation of Legacy Arena. The BJCC Authority, Jefferson County, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and private corporate partners also back the project. Site work is set to begin before the end of this year and the stadium is expected to be completed in 2021. Arena upgrades are expected to be finished in 2022. The city also recently added the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, housing six NCAA regulation-size fields appropriate for soccer, lacrosse or football; eight baseball/softball fields; 15 tennis courts; and a two-mile walk- ing track, as well as an expansive indoor facility. In addition, the city is home to the Birmingham CrossPlex, a 221,000-square-foot multipurpose athletic and meeting facility, which houses one of the top track and field op- tions in the nation. Wilson suggested that in a competitive land- scape, it is no longer enough to simply have a good facility. For instance, the city of Arlington (Texas) is home to numerous world-class facil- ities, such as the Dallas Cowboy's AT&T Sta- dium and the Arlington Convention Center, but today, cities must think bigger and better ► There is a new sport in town and Matt Wilson, vice president of sports and events with the Arling- ton Convention and Visitors Bureau, calls it a "force." This fall, the city of Arlington will open the country's largest esports stadium in its entertain- ment district. The facility will house 100,000 square feet and some of the most cutting-edge LED setups in the world. Wilson noted that the esports industry has grown at a rapid pace in recent years. "Every city in the country is trying to figure out how in the world do we get in on esports," he said. "It's big busi- ness … we are talking billions of dollars." He said that the city got serious about the development when they saw that billionaires were investing their money in esports. Notably, Texas Rangers' ownership recently partnered with two esports teams: OpTic Gaming and EnVyUS, the latter of which announced plans to relocate its headquarters to Dallas. A type of competitive video gaming, esports typically take the form of organized, multiplayer professional competitions. The 2017 Global Esports Market Report predicted that the sport would become a $1.5 billion market by 2020. Q Arlington Takes on Esports Arlington CVB

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of ConventionSouth - SEP 2018