Discover Kalamazoo Sports reports hosting 70+ sports events in 2023, which resulted in $28.5 million in estimated direct visitor spending.  

More than 30,000 youth, amateur, college and professional athletes competed in various sports events and tournaments held in 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.  

Discover Kalamazoo contracted Conventions, Sports & Leisure (CSL) to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study to review potential growth opportunities in the sports tourism marketplace. The study's findings revealed a significant opportunity in Kalamazoo County for an indoor, tournament-ready hard-court facility that can accommodate at least eight basketball courts and 16 volleyball courts for local and regional use. This facility is projected to host 372,000 local and 223,615 non-local attendee days, generate 36,000 hotel room nights, and deliver $48 million in annual economic output.  

"For much of the past year, we have focused our efforts on diversifying our sports tourism business in Kalamazoo," said Brian Persky, Director of Business Development at Discover Kalamazoo. 


"Kalamazoo continues to punch above its weight class in niche sports such as ice hockey, figure skating, wrestling, and tennis. 2023 was still one of our strongest years on record regarding the economic impact generated from sports events in the community. However, we believe a gap exists in our ability to host more diverse sports events with higher participation rates. Our team at Discover Kalamazoo continues to strategically work towards achieving these goals in 2024 and beyond."


The following notable sports events were held in Kalamazoo in 2023:  

USA Curling Mixed Doubles Championships hosted by USA Curling & Kalamazoo Curling Club 

  • Approximately 100 athletes, coaches, and various event personnel 
  • Over 200 hotel room nights were realized 
  • Estimated direct economic impact of $103,518 

MHSAA Team Wrestling Finals hosted by the Michigan High School Athletic Association 

  • Approximately 1,000 athletes, coaches, and various event personnel 
  • Over 500 hotel room nights were realized 
  • Estimated direct economic impact of $699,615 

MYWAY Wrestling Individual State Championship hosted by Michigan Youth Wrestling Association  

  • Approximately 5,000 athletes, coaches, and various event personnel 
  • Over 2,000 hotel room nights were realized 
  • Estimated direct economic impact of $4.6 million 

MAC Women's Golf Championship hosted by Western Michigan University  

  • Approximately 60 athletes, coaches, and various event personnel 
  • Over 100 hotel room nights were realized 
  • Estimated direct economic impact of $57,793 

Discover Kalamazoo hired two new team members in 2023 to help with sports business development. Justin Zeldes, Sports Event Development Manager, promotes Kalamazoo as a destination for all sports with the help of our partners. Taya Pettis, Business Development Coordinator, aids meetings and sports sales in bringing events to the area. 

Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, Kalamazoo has several new and returning events on the horizon to look forward to: 

The Ziegler Kalamazoo Marathon will return this spring on Sunday, May 5. The start and finish will be downtown at the Arcadia Creek Festival Place, and the route will be throughout Kalamazoo.  

The Black American Cheer Association will host a summer cheer camp in Kalamazoo for the first time, held at Western Michigan University's Student Rec Center from July 31- August 2.  

The USTA Boys' 18 & 16 National Championships will continue for its 81st year and will be hosted at Kalamazoo College's Stowe Stadium, Western Michigan University's Sorensen Courts, and other surrounding sites.  

The 2024 Teen CrossFit Games will be held at Wings Event Center from August 27 to September 1. It will be the first international sporting event held in Kalamazoo.