A National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) study states that in 2017 the sports tourism industry had an $11.4 billion dollar impact on the U.S. economy. A noticeable sliver of this impact was felt right here in central Virginia among its many hotels, service businesses, and retailers. “This region deserves an organization dedicated to showcasing the impact sports have on this area while supporting sports business and ideas.” says Billy Russo, Vice-President and Co-Founder of Central Virginia Sports Management LLC and Central Virginia Sports Commission (CVSC) Board Member. Hundreds of sports commissions around the country provide platforms for capturing economic and quality of life benefits this industry produces by strategically soliciting, creating, and supporting sports related events.
The region has a growing history of hosting successful events from the Virginia 10 Miler, Lynchburg Hillcats, numerous collegiate and amateur events, most recently the Virginia Commonwealth Games at Liberty University, and coming to Lynchburg in 2019 the State Games of America. The Central Virginia Sports Commission will provide event support services for local, regional, and national events helping retain existing sporting events, creating excitement, and placing the focus on world class customer service. “This is an exciting time for sports and event planners,” says Pete Lampman. “Having the opportunity to have one stop shopping to meet all the needs of bringing a sporting event to the region and enhancing the awareness and quality of the event is an organizers dream come true”.
One purpose of the CVSC is to be a catalyst for impacting economic development and supporting regional business. “Sports and athletic tourism are key drivers for our region providing millions in economic impact. Many of our competing regions have active and successful sports commissions and we are delighted to see a sports commission being created for the Lynchburg region. We are excited about the opportunities that this commission will bring to the image of sports development. Not to mention, increasing the awareness and opportunities for local businesses to brand to this important market. It’s a win-win.” Christine Kennedy, COO and EVP, Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance.
Additionally, CVSC realizes the importance of youth sports, investing in opportunities that help transform lives, and serving as an advocate and resource for local sports groups by providing a platform for promotion, fundraising, and new business development. “In 2019 we will create a Community Sports Expo as a platform for regional sports programs, teams, and events to have an opportunity to showcase their program, event, or service heading into the next season”, says Russo. This is one of many events we will create to impact the area and bring awareness through sports.” Additional information for this event will be announced in January.
The CVSC will seek mutually beneficial partnerships through fundraising and other funds in order to maintain operations to serve its mission. “Central Virginia has the right combination of people, organizations, and facilities which give opportunities to serve the sports industry,” says Ernest Carter, President and Founder of Central Virginia Sports Management LLC, and CVSC Board Member. The CVSC will be led by a board of directors of passionate community members who will bring unique experience to an exciting organization. This board will employ a management company to carry out the daily operations and be the face of the CVSC. CVSC will serve the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) of Lynchburg which is Lynchburg City, Campbell County, Bedford County, Bedford City, Amherst County, and Appomattox County.
The CVSC will support the efforts of tourism and sports marketing by the City of Lynchburg and other government’s within its MSA acting as an available resource. “We will add value to current efforts being conducted to maximize effectiveness”, says Russo. The goal will be to educate the community on the benefits and impact of sports business and athletic participation. CVSC strives to be recognized as a sports business advisor, partner, and resource connector for government officials, destination marketing organizations, sports groups, and academic institutions conducting sports promotion, event services, and sports tourism.
CentralVASports.com, which was launched in July of this year, will serve as the website for the CVSC and will continue to be the go-to sports resource for the region. The website has the official regional sports calendar with information on events, area sport news updated daily, and resources available for event owners and local sport groups. The CVSC also has social media pages, including Facebook, and will have a newsletter for further sports promotion.
The CVSC is an independent 501c3 non-stock corporation. Its mission is to promote the sports industry image in central Virginia; to engage public and private resources to foster economic development through sports; to build an understanding in the community of the importance of sports and their impact on quality of life; to recruit and create sports events through creative partnerships that have a positive impact on the community; and to do so with world class service while meeting all industry professional standards.