November 17, 2015
NORFOLK, Va. --- The Hampton Roads Sports Commission (HRSC), an affiliate of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, hosted the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympic Games for the fifth time from July 29 - August 8, 2015. Competition took place throughout the region including Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. It took an immense effort by all of these cities to collaborate on this project. The event brought in 35,000 attendees comprised of athletes, coaches and family members and 93% of attendees were visitors to the Hampton Roads area over the 11-day span. This led to an estimated 36,000 room nights being booked, with an average length of stay of five days. Additionally, 1,500 volunteers helped make this event a success, including over 500 members from the U.S. Navy, especially from USS Bush.
An economic impact study was conducted by the Old Dominion University Research Foundation and professors from the Sports Management Program. The economic impact of the 2015 AAU Junior Olympic Games was estimated to be between $43.7 - $52.9 million. The study calculated spending on: lodging, food and beverage, retail, local transportation, tourist attractions and entertainment. The five cities involved benefited from the event not only from an economic stand point, but a publicity standpoint as well. Lauren Bland, Executive Director of the HRSC, believes that “our success from hosting this event has put our region on a platform to bring additional large scale sporting events.” Other cities that host the AAU Junior Olympic Games are Houston, Texas, Detroit, Mich., Des Moines, Iowa, and Greensboro, N.C.
“Our region hosting this nationally-recognized signature amateur sporting event speaks volumes about our commitment to sports tourism" said Jim Ricketts, Director of the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau. “With a $17 million dollar economic return to Virginia Beach alone, the AAU Junior Olympic Games helps contribute significantly to our local residents’ quality of life. I am thankful for the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make this event a success for our region and for the thousands of families that participate.”
Bland said, “Our region talks a lot about regionalism. This sporting event showcased how effective regionalism can be when multiple cities work together. Our Parks and Recreation Departments and Convention and Visitor Bureaus put forth their best effort to welcome these visitors to our region and make sure they come back in the future for vacations and/or sporting events.”
The Hampton Roads Sports Commission plans to launch a new event April 19-23, 2016, the Hampton Roads Corporate Challenge. Participation in this event will be one of the best things your company can do this year for team morale, wellness, business and brand growth and helping the community!
Founded in February of 1999, HRSC has focused on endorsing Hampton Roads as an attractive and attainable location for national and international amateur sporting events. The HRSC’s primary function is to attract major athletic events to the area to emphasize regional collaboration. Past events include: the National Senior Games (2003), the Red Cross Heroes Games (2005) and the AAU Junior Olympic Games (1998, 2001, 2006, 2010). During the past 15 years, the HRSC has generated more than $177 million in economic impact for the region.
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