Sports tourism is big business: VBR Sports unveils new video to boost local economy

ROANOKE, Va.- – Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge wants to build on its reputation of holding successful athletic championships and tournaments in Salem and the Roanoke Valley with a new marketing video.

VBR Sports released the video to capture more sports tourism to help boost the local economy. Capitalizing on current success, some unique sporting opportunities are on the way. 

"We have both cornhole and pickleball that we are looking at bringing in and focus more on events like that," said Mary Cywinski, VBR Sports development manager. 

VBR Sports says it's on top of its game when it comes to athletic tourism. 

"Sports is big business in Virginia's Blue Ridge. It brings in a number of economic impacts. And because 95 % of our hotels are select service, we need sporting events. We need sporting events to fill up our hotels," said Cywinski.

Donna Ramsey, the director of sales at Hampton Inn-Salem, looks forward to teams coming to town. 

"Well, we sell out. The impact is huge," said Ramsey. 

Without those events, the hotel would possibly see a decrease in guests. 

"It would affect our yearly occupancy by 20-30 %, maybe even more," said Ramsey.

The Central InterCollegiate Athletic Association started holding its football championship three years ago in Salem. Breon Hagans says the partnerships with the city and VBR Sports helped to further establish CIAA's brand.

"When people see the CIAA logo, they know who we are now. Helping us to get out here and do these events, the clinics, going to the schools and reading to the kids and things of that nature, has helped," said Hagans, associate commissioner for championships and brand management.

VBR Sports has identified the following sports events with the highest potential to host in Virginia's Blue Ridge: Adventure Racing, Marathons, Cross Country, Mountain Bike Racing, BMX Cycling, Off-Road Triathlons, Corn Hole, Basketball, Cheer/Dance, Football, Archery, Tennis, Ice Hockey, Wrestling, Volleyball, Pickle Ball, Disc Golf, Soccer and much more.

To view the video from Virginia's Blue Ridge, click here.  


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