Sports Commission Scores Big in Economic Impact
3 Feb, 2014
From the drawing board to the ball park, the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission (GSOBSC) scored big in 2013, hitting an all-time high for sports tourism for the 32-mile white-sand beach destination. Continuing an upward trend, the sports organization, along with both cities, hosted a record 94 athletic events, producing 71,931 room nights and nearly $28 million in direct visitor spending in 2013, a 24 percent increase from 2012.
“Our sports commission works tirelessly to bring a variety of athletic events to coastal Alabama,” said Herb Malone, president and CEO of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism (GSOBT), the area’s official destination marketing organization. “Many families that travel to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach for sporting events end up coming back as vacationers to our family-friendly beach destination, bringing the sports tourism full-circle. This results in a boost in retail sales and lodging revenue in peak and shoulder seasons for businesses across the area.”
Committed to bringing new and diverse sporting events to the area while maintaining existing relationships with athletic event planners, the GSOBSC welcomed many new events in 2013, such as The Color Run and Xtreme Obstacle Challenge. Additionally, the City of Gulf Shores conducted an extensive track upgrade, which was resurfaced with state-of-the-art poured polyurethane. Other track upgrades included the addition of a steeplechase, high jump and pole vault pits and standards.
“The sports commission could not continue to post record numbers year after year without the unmatched support of the Cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Coastal Alabama Business Chamber and our sponsors,” Beth Gendler, vice president of sales for GSOBT and the GSOBSC, said. “We are honored to continually introduce the world of sports to our sparkling waters and beautiful beach as we move into another busy and exciting year.”
Other accomplishments for the GSOBSC and its partners in 2013 included winning the bid for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Outdoor Track & Field Championship and extending contracts for the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Sand Volleyball National Championships through 2015.
Additional notable events for 2014 include the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Track Championships, United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) World Series and SEC Women’s Soccer Championship.
Among the 94 events hosted last year, the sports commission successfully produced the Brett Robinson Alabama Coastal Triathlon for the seventh year and the Kaiser Realty by Wyndham Vacation Rentals Coastal Half Marathon and 5K Run for the sixth year. The GSOBSC set a new benchmark for sports tourism in 2013 and welcomes the challenge to promote a whole different state of play in 2014.
For information on upcoming athletic events along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, visit www.gulfshoresorangebeachsports.com, or call 1-800-745-SAND.
Year Room Nights Direct Visitor Spending
- 2013 71,931 $28,899,962
- 2012 64,076 $22,479,090
Major 2014 Events:
- 2014 Sweetheart Run at The Hangout: Feb. 15
- Orange Beach Soccer Shootout: March 23-24
- The Color Run: April 5
- AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball Championship: May 1-4
- 2014 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championship: May 22-24
- USSSA Baseball Global World Series I-V: June-July
- Brett Robinson Alabama Coastal Triathlon: Sept. 6
- SEC Women’s Soccer Championship: Nov. 3-9
- Kaiser Realty by Wyndham Vacation Rentals Coastal Half-Marathon and 5K Run: Nov. 29
- NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship: Dec. 1-6
About Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission is a partnership between Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber and the Cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. In 2007, this commission became a department within Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism. In this role, the commission - along with assistance from both cities – works to bring quality sporting events to Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism is an official corporate sponsor of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). For information, please visit www.gulfshoresorangebeachsports.com.