Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge bringing more sports to the region

VBR Sports created to market the greater Roanoke Valley for sporting events

ROANOKE, Va. – We can expect more amateur sporting events in Virginia's Blue Ridge in the future -- as well as the important tourism dollars that come with things like soccer tournaments.

Officials with Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge, which markets the region to tourists, announced Wednesday the formation of an organization called, VBR Sports.

The new group was created to market the greater Roanoke Valley specifically for sporting events such as softball and soccer.

"Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge is always recognized that sports make up 69 percent of the group business that falls into the region for tourism. And so this initiative shows our commitment to focusing on sports and promoting our destination as a premier sports destination," said Bree Nidds, sports development director for Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge.

"It's like fishing with a net instead of a line," quipped VBR President Landon Howard as he spoke to a group of about 50 people assembled for the announcement at the Countryside Sportsplex on Highland Farm Road near William Fleming High School. 

Landon explained that it is easier to attract large numbers of tourists when players and their families all gather for a weekend of sports activities. 

"They eat in the restaurants, buy gas and visit museums while they are in town." he said.

In addition to traditional sports, Nidds says she is reaching out to other potential sectors of the sporting world, such as tennis, archery, wrestling and mountain biking.

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