Discover Kalamazoo Sports reports hosting a total of 40+ sports events in 2021, which resulted in $15.4 million in estimated direct visitor spending.
More than 20,000 youth, amateur, college and professional athletes competed in various sports events and tournaments held throughout the Kalamazoo area, contributing to the region’s local economy by discovering Kalamazoo through a combination of activities such as lodging, transportation, food & beverage, retail, recreation, space rental, and other business services.
The following notable sports events were held in Kalamazoo in 2021:
USTA Boys’ 18 & 16 National Championships hosted by Kalamazoo College
- Nearly 470 athletes, coaches, and various event personnel
- 2,880 hotel room nights realized
- Estimated direct economic impact of $1,211,397
MHSAA Individual Wrestling Finals hosted by the Michigan High School Athletic Association
- Nearly 1,000 athletes, coaches, and various event personnel
- 590 hotel room nights realized
- Estimated direct economic impact of $704,488
U.S. Figure Skating’s National Solo Dance Finals hosted by the Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association
- Nearly 300 athletes, coaches, and various event personnel
- 528 room nights realized
- Estimated direct economic impact of $513,869
MHSAA Team Wrestling Finals hosted by the Michigan High School Athletic Association
- Nearly 900 athletes, coaches, and various event personnel
- 615 hotel room nights realized
- Estimated direct economic impact of $458,449
“It takes a huge effort from a lot of different local organizations and partners to achieve this kind of community-wide impact,” says Brian Persky, Director of Sports Event Development.
“We’re very fortunate in Kalamazoo to have some of the country's most well-respected sports organizations and local organizing committees,” Persky added. “It really allows us to come in and play that supportive role where we can spend our time and resources on enhancing the visitor experience outside the field of play.”
As a longtime partner of Discover Kalamazoo Sports, the Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association (GKSA) is one of the many incredible local organizations that has offered our local youth the opportunity to earn college scholarships, skate in world re-owned competitions and entertainment programs such as the U.S. Special Olympics, Disney on Ice, Team USA, and much more.
“Working with the Discover Kalamazoo Sports team has been invaluable to our club over several years,” says Kristen Crandle, Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association.
“If your organization is planning an event to bring people to Kalamazoo, involve this team right at the start of the planning process. They helped organize hotel room blocks, provided welcome gift bags for our event officials and informational materials regarding area restaurants and activities, and even had several of their staff members volunteer at our event. Because our organization is made up entirely of volunteers, having Discover Kalamazoo Sports’ support really helped smooth the way for our competitors and their families to have a positive experience in Kalamazoo.”
In addition, Discover Kalamazoo Sports hosted two virtual educational events as a part of the Discover Kalamazoo Sports Network. On National Girls & Women in Sports Day, Discover Kalamazoo Sports highlighted two dynamic women in the Kalamazoo community and how they continue to break the glass ceiling as a female, parent, and leader in a male dominated industry. With over 60 registered in attendance, this event served as Discover Kalamazoo Sports’ most highly participated educational event since the creation of the Network in 2019.
Discover Kalamazoo Sports also held its first inaugural Discover Kalamazoo Sports Golf Outing on November 1st, 2021, at Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort. The outing served as a fundraiser and awareness builder that brought Kalamazoo’s sports community together while helping support Discover Kalamazoo’s efforts in strengthening the impact that sports event tourism has on the region. The 2022 Discover Kalamazoo Sports Golf Outing will take place on Monday, October 3rd at The Moors Golf Club.
Looking further into 2022, Kalamazoo has plenty of new and returning events on the horizon to look forward to. Originally scheduled to take place in 2020, the USA Hockey Youth Tier II Boys National Championship took place at Wings Event Center, March 30th – April 4th, 2022, drawing more than 1,000 athletes, coaches, and event personnel to Kalamazoo.
Last week, Wings Event Center hosted the 2022 National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) National Championships. Kalamazoo is also set to host the return of the 2022 Can-Am Softball Tournament, Latitude 42 Senior Pro Open 65+ Pickleball Tournament, Michigan Horseshoe Championship, Michigan Kubb Championship, and much more.
The USTA Boys’ 18 & 16 National Championships are also scheduled to continue for its 79th consecutive year at Kalamazoo College’s iconic Stowe Stadium, with satellite sites taking place at Western Michigan University and Loy Norrix High School.
Discover Kalamazoo Sports exists to provide a variety of complimentary services in partnership with sports event planners, sports organizations, sports facilities/venues, and other related community partners. It is our mission to share the local impact of sports tourism in the Kalamazoo region by providing inspiration that encourages visitors and residents to discover Kalamazoo sports!
We provide complimentary services such as event support, promotion, housing coordination, volunteer assistance, local organizing committee involvement, bid proposal assistance and much more. It is part of our goal as an organization to ensure an outstanding experience for all event attendees, from players and coaches to fans, officials and staff. We ensure that when you host your event in Kalamazoo, it will be one to remember.
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Director of Sports Event Development
Discover Kalamazoo Sports
240 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49007