Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Hosting youth and amateur sporting events generated nearly $88 million for West Michigan’s economy in 2023, the West Michigan Sports Commission says.

The estimated $87.9 million came from 121 sporting events, which drew almost 278,000 athletes and visitors to the area, according to a Monday release from WMSC. The commission, which dates back to 2007, says it’s the second highest economic impact it has seen so far — second only to 2022, which generated an estimated $90.5 million for the region.

The number of sporting events increased from 2022 to 2023, as did the number of athletes and visitors, according to the release. But the commission says the number of nights spent in hotels dropped nearly 28% from 2022 to 2023.

WMSC says both the Meijer State Games of Michigan and the Meijer Sports Complex in Rockford saw their strongest years yet in terms of economic impact. The games drew 8,700 athletes and generated $3.1 million in 2023, according to the release. And the commission says the Meijer Sports Complex generated an estimated $8.7 million by hosting 21 tournaments and more than 29,300 athletes and visitors.

The commission says it has raised $6.3 million toward an $11 million capital campaign to expand the Meijer Sports Complex. This year, it will look to raise the last $4.7 million.

Construction has already started on the first phase of the expansion, which will ultimately include pickleball courts, a new championship softball field, a new playground and more. WMSC says the project will let the complex accommodate 200 more teams, generating an extra $1 million in visitor spending each year.

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