In a long-overdue announcement, the State of Maryland held a press conference this morning to announce that they’re getting serious about luring major events to the region with the formation of a joint coalition between the Governor, the Stadium Authority and a marketing group formed specifically to generate sports-related tourism and revenue here.
I attended the press conference and will discuss it on “Limited Access” at 2 p.m. today. The basic premise was a website launch and an organized outreach that will lure events — both recreational and professional — to venues throughout the state.
A good idea, I think. We’ll see what the benefits are beyond the obvious: AC Milan and Chelsea at M&T Bank Stadium on July 24. (By the way, they’ve sold 52,000 seats so far for the event!)
Here’s the press release:
STATE EXPANDS SPORTS MARKETING, LAUNCHES MARYLAND ‘HERE TO PLAY’
Cal Ripken Jr., State officials unveil comprehensive sports marketing database
Baltimore, Maryland (May 8, 2009) – Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development Secretary Christian S. Johansson and Maryland Stadium Authority Chairman John Morton, III were joined by Cal Ripken, Jr. and more than 100 sports industry executives at Oriole Park at Camden Yards today to officially launch www.marylandsports.us. This electronic marketing platform features an online sports facility directory, special event calendar and cooperative marketing network designed to increase the number of sporting events and travelers in Maryland.
“Sports travel is a $182 billion industry nationally,” said Governor O’Malley. “With world class facilities and abundant natural resources, Maryland is moving forward to capitalize on our incredible assets to attract more high quality sports events and host the millions of athletes and spectators who participate.“
Featuring more than 600 recreation and sporting venues – including major league stadiums, university arenas, state parks and both government and privately operated facilities — the online directory is accessible via the web at www.marylandsports.us and is the first of many resources planned for events rights-holders and promoters interested in Maryland. An Events Calendar and other links will also provide information on assets and activities in Maryland to the thousands of enthusiasts who comprise the billion-dollar sports travel industry.
“DBED’s strong partnership with the Stadium Authority is already paying dividends for the State’s economy by attracting world class sporting competitions to Maryland,” said DBED Secretary Christian S. Johansson. “We have helped secure the NCAA lacrosse championships in 2010-2011 and the first ever exhibition soccer match between international powerhouses Chelsea and Milan on June 24, 2009.”
“Bidding for lucrative competitions is a complex, competitive process, involving numerous state and local partners,” said MSA Chairman John Morton, III. “This new initiative further proves that when Maryland bids on an event – we’re in the game to win.”
Proposals for additional events in other parts of the state are in progress, as are plans to develop a signature “Maryland” competition that will draw participants, spectators, and media attention to the state and its many attractions.
“ The Governor and other visionaries who recognized the opportunities the sports event and travel industry present deserve tremendous credit,” said Terrance Hasseltine, Director of the Maryland Office of Sports Marketing. “We have an opportunity to capitalize on our sports assets, like our central location and excellent facilities, and tap into this growing segment of the economy. The partnership between the Stadium Authority and Department of Business and Economic Development puts Maryland in a stronger position to do so.”