To say that 2019 was an incredible year for the Kalamazoo sports tourism industry would be an understatement. In comparison to 2018, direct spending in 2019 was up more than 28% according to the results of an economic impact study completed by Sports Facility Advisory in conjunction with Pure Michigan Sports – a statewide collaborative in which Discover Kalamazoo Sports is an active member. 

To make this unforgettable year one to remember, we’ve put together a list of 6 ways sports tourism impacted Kalamazoo in 2019. 


1. An Estimated 90 Sports Events  
From local soccer, baseball, and softball tournaments to NCAA championships… All sports events, no matter the size made an impact. Here are a few of the most impactful events hosted in Kalamazoo in 2019. 
1. Midwestern & Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships hosted by the Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association
2. NCAA Division III Men’s & Women’s Tennis National Championships hosted by Kalamazoo College
3. And for the second consecutive year Kalamazoo hosted the MHSAA Team Wrestling Finals. The MHSAA reported that their last two years in Kalamazoo have drawn their two largest crowds over the last 11 years… What can we say? We’re big wrestling fans.
2. More than 61,000 Athletes 

Youth, amateur, and professional athletes all competed in various sports events and tournaments held throughout the Kalamazoo area in 2019. 

Kalamazoo also served as the host for the 2019 USA Curling National Championships, welcoming the USA Olympic Gold Medal team into our community. Does the name Matt Hamilton sound familiar?

We’re only slightly bragging… 


3. $26.9 Million in Estimated Economic Impact 

Each event, athlete, team, and spectator visiting our community for a sports event contributes to the region’s local economy through a combination of activities such as lodging, transportation, food & beverage, retail, recreation, space rental, and other business services. 


4. Kalamazoo Gets SafeSport Certified  

Pure Michigan Sports and Discover Kalamazoo Sports teamed up with the U.S. Center for SafeSport to host a SafeSport Certification Training. The training was held at Kalamazoo College in November, where more than 55 local sports event planners, sports organizations, and sports facilities/venues became SafeSport certified. 

According the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s website, their mission is to make athlete well-being the centerpiece of our nation’s sports culture through abuse prevention, education, and accountability. 


<< Learn more about the U.S. Center for SafeSport >>


5. Awarded 2020 USA Hockey Youth Tier II 14U National Championships Bid 

Unfortunately, the USA Hockey Youth Tier II 14U National Championships scheduled for April 2-6, 2020 were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however it is anticipated that Kalamazoo will once again be given the opportunity to host the event in the near future.


6. WMU eSports  

A fairly new addition to Kalamazoo is Western Michigan University’s eSports Arena. This state of the art facility includes space for practice, tournament play and professional production. It offers 36 gaming machines, 12 of which are competition computers that sit in front of a 190-seat auditorium. 

The WMU eSports Arena hosted 16 events, welcoming 400+ competitors in 2019. 

eSports offers a new and exciting perspective to the sports industry and we’re thrilled to have the ability to welcome future eSports competitors and fans into our community.