FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Four new sports tournaments are coming to Fort Wayne, the mayor announced on Thursday.
Mayor Tom Henry and Visit Fort Wayne officials said the tournaments will attract 25,000 visitors to the community.
The city is providing $20,000 in Sports Development Grant Fund dollars to help with the tournaments. The money will help the tournaments off-set the cost of renting the venues. Visit Fort Wayne expects the tournaments to bring in as much as $4.5 million to the city.
“Being a leader in sports activities is another example of the unprecedented momentum we’re experiencing in the City of Fort Wayne,” said Mayor Henry. “We’re looking forward to showcasing our community as a destination place for sports, recreation, new jobs and businesses, and an excellent quality of life.”
The scheduled tournaments are as follows:
- Professional Bowlers Association (PBA)Tour Super Senior Classic & Fort Wayne Classic
- July 18 to 23 at Pro Bowl West. 200 expected participants, 500 attendees.
- State Wars – U.S. Roller Hockey Championship
- July 30 to August 10 at SportONE Parkview Icehouse. 270 teams with 2,600 participants expected with 10,000 spectators.
- USA Pickleball Great Lakes Regional Championship.
- August 15 to 17 at SportONE Parkview Fieldhouse. More than 200 participants expected.
- National United Wrestling Championships.
- January 8 to 10, 2015 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. More than 10,000 participants expected.
“Fort Wayne is a prime destination to host premier local, state, regional and national sporting events,” said Visit Fort Wayne President/CEO Dan O’Connell. “Our city’s first-class venues, hotels, and restaurants are ready to welcome in more than 25,000 visitors from these four events. The local economy will feel a generous bump in business as a result of these tournaments.”
The PBA tournament starts at Pro Bowl West on Thursday.
“Hotels are convenient. There’s a number of restaurants in town. The city has been good enough and the mayor has been good enough to get behind the tournament here in Fort Wayne,” John Weber, the PBA 50 regional tour director, said. “They’ve rolled out the red carpet for us. We’re here and can’t wait to get started.”
Corey Ford, the group sales manager at Visit Fort Wayne, said Fort Wayne is a perfect place for tournaments to come.
“We have some of the best tournament-friendly sports venues in the country for a city our size,” he said. “And they’re right next to shopping malls and right next to restaurants, so that makes it ideal for sporting event planners when selecting our city.”
Ford said the NCAA gave special permission for the wrestling tournament to allow collegiate and youth wrestlers to be in the same event.
David Small, the proprietor of Pro Bowl West, said the bowling tournament filled up really fast.
“It’s not just Indianapolis that can host these gigantic events. We can bring a great event like this to Fort Wayne and do it just as well if not better. If we do this right, hopefully we can bring other big events to the Fort Wayne area which can spur the economy for everybody,” he said.
Weber would advise other events to take a close look at the city.
“They should get here as fast as they possibly can and stay here as long as they possibly can and enjoy the city and the surroundings,” he said. “The people have been wonderful. I can’t say enough good things about Fort Wayne.”