Miami County seeks youth sports events to attract visitors, money

Miami County has made it at least to first base in its efforts to enter the sports tournament/events arena with youth tournaments coming to parks in Troy and Tipp City in May and June.

The sports marketing task was given to the county Visitors and Convention Bureau by county commissioners who have been encouraging the effort to showcase county sports facilities for a number of years.

In 2016, Don Schumacher of the National Association of Sports Commissions visited the county for meetings with government and sports leaders and to audit sports venues that might be used for events. The report noted available resources for sports such as fast pitch softball, baseball and soccer, among other activities.

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Diana Thompson, the bureau’s executive director, included in her annual report to commissioners news of the initial success of the sports marketing efforts.

“We are doing the best we can. It starts with a couple of good successes, and it just draws from there. We are very excited,” she said.

The events scheduled for this year are a national youth softball association tournament coming to Troy’s Duke Park May 5-6 followed by another state 14 and under and national softball association tournament June 23-24. Tipp City’s Kyle Park will host a baseball association state championship and national softball association tournament Memorial Day Weekend.

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The Tipp City Parks Advisory Committee liked the tournament idea when it was approached last year about possible use of the Kyle Park for the tournament.

“I think it’s a good idea. It brings people to Tipp City, hopefully some of them will stay in Tipp City,” Kevin Cox, a committee member and local businessman, said during that meeting.

A tournament “represents thousands and thousands of dollars coming into the area. When a tournament comes in, everybody knows it. You see them (visitors) at restaurants, hotels, parks,” Thompson said.

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In addition to employee Leiann Stewart, who works on the sports marketing effort, the bureau strives to provide information to make sure organizers are aware of what is available beyond the sports fields.

“We want to make it a great experience so these guys who plan these tournaments will consider Miami County again and again as a top destination to play,” Thompson said.

Stewart and the county’s efforts were highlighted in a December article on economic impact of sports marketing by sports commissions, visitors/convention bureaus and venues in Sports Events Magazine. The article included a photo of wrestling tournament at Troy’s Hobart Arena.

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