A new position at Visit Wichita, which focuses solely on attracting new sporting events to the city, has been filled. Brian Hargrove, former general manager of the Wichita Sports Forum, is the organization’s new executive director of sports development.
Sporting events are a key pillar at Visit Wichita, and Hargrove will lead the organization’s efforts to bring new and more sporting events to Wichita, increasing local economic impact through sports.
“I am most excited about joining Visit Wichita in this position to help show people across the country what a great city we live in – and what a great city this is to compete in,” said Hargrove. There is a lot of energy in Wichita right now, especially in sports, and I am looking forward to getting out there and building on that.”
Hargrove is a graduate of Wichita State University’s sports administration program. He has more than 20 years experience in the sports industry, and has worked in two Olympic games – Sydney, Australia and Athens, Greece. Prior to joining Visit Wichita, he was the general manager at Wichita Sports Forum and spent 11 years at the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission as the director of events and marketing.
In addition to Hargrove’s role as executive director of sports development, Visit Wichita also has a sports sales manager, Josh Howell, who is responsible for developing relationships with local, regional and national sports stakeholders in order to attract more sporting events, sports conventions and sports meetings to Wichita. The two will be working hand-in-hand on sports initiatives.
“It is an exciting time in Wichita for sports, and we want to capitalize on the momentum by putting Wichita in a position to host more sporting events,” said Susie Santo, president and CEO of Visit Wichita. “In 2018, Wichita has hosted or will host major sporting events with groups like U.S. Figure Skating, NCAA, USA Waterski and the United States Bowling Congress. Those four events combined are estimated to generate more than $14 million in local economic impact. Through the addition of Brian, working closely with Josh, we expect to welcome even more sporting events to Wichita and put Wichita on the map as a Midwest sports destination.”
Visit Wichita markets the Greater Wichita area and advocates for the city as a destination, increasing travel and tourism as a key economic driver for the city, county, region and state. Visit Wichita is led by president and CEO Susie Santo, and in 2017 travel and tourism contributed more than $1.1 billion in economic impact to the greater Wichita area.