Experience Columbus works closely with the Greater Columbus Sports Commission (GCSC), an LLC created in 2002 to bring sporting events to town.
Since its founding, the GCSC has brought more than 200 new events to Columbus, collectively generating an estimated $200 million in visitor spending; the commission also works to retain annual bid events that have generated another $160 million.
Two annual events in particular are economic workhorses. The All American Quarter Horse Congress attracts 650,000 spectators and pumps about $180 million into the local economy each year. The Arnold Sports Festival, the nation’s largest multi-sport festival, brings more than 175,000 visitors to the city. This year, visitors spent an estimated $42.4 million.
Recently, Central Ohio has scored several other high-profile sporting events:In March, Columbus hosted the second- and third-round games of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament, which generated an estimated $10 million. This summer, the city will host the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships, the signature event for USA Volleyball. It’s expected to bring nearly 30,000 visitors and $25 million in spending. In January 2013, the city will host the NHL All-Star Game. The weekend, which has an estimated $50 million in media exposure value, is expected to generate $12 million in direct visitor spending. Columbus was chosen earlier this year to host first- and second-round games of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball tournament in March 2013. Fall 2013 will bring the Presidents Cup to Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin. The tournament is expected to draw more than 150,000 fans, with a projected regional economic impact of $50 million.
The GCSC has an annual budget of $1 million. Corporate sponsors provide about two-thirds of that funding; the rest comes from the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority ($250,000), Experience Columbus ($120,000) and money made on events.
GCSC Executive Director Linda Logan would like to see a budget “someplace close to $2 million.” Should Experience Columbus’s request to rewrite the city’s bed tax formula be implemented, the commission would see a funding increase of 17 percent, or a little more than $250,000, she says.
Reprinted from the June 2012 issue of Columbus C.E.O. Copyright © Columbus C.E.O.