WMSC Launches Blog, Plays 2013 Highlights

Welcome to the West Michigan Sports Commission blog! Our goal is to provide you with monthly updates on West Michigan’s youth and amateur sports scene so that you can tune in – whether as an athlete, fan, volunteer or sponsor.  Look here for news about events coming to town, recent tournament wins, and new sports venues like the championship-caliber Art Van Sports Complex  under construction, plus ways to get involved.

As president of the sports commission, I’ll get the ball rolling – but you won’t just hear from me. Posts also will come from the rest of our incredible five-person team, board members and sports partners. Do you represent a particular sport or local club and have some news to share? Let us know, and we might tap you as a guest blogger.

Since it’s December, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on some of most memorable moments of the past year for the sports commission and the sporting industry of West Michigan. To use a sports analogy, think of it as our 2013 highlight reel.

Roll film…

  • Grand Rapids Business Journal names West Michigan Sports Commission a 2012 Newsmaker of the Year nominee – This was a great way to start 2013, and while we didn’t win the overall, we were thrilled to be in company with Downtown Market, ArtPrize and others.
  • Peggy Keiper joins team as National Sports Sales Manager – Peggy brings loads of contacts and has already helped us land a number of new tournaments, including the 2014 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track Championships, 2014 American Canoe Association Adaptive Summit and USA Synchro 2015 Masters Championships. 
  • Michigan Football Coach Brady Hoke keynotes sold-out WMSC Annual Luncheon – And yes, this is where he uttered his infamous line about Notre Dame “chickening out” of its football matchup that traveled through social media like wildfire.  
  • Meijer State Games of Michigan wraps another successful year – The 2013 games attracted 6,521 athletes from 72+ counties in 34 sports, generating an estimated $2.7 million in direct visitor spending. In its fourth year, the MSGOM has grown on average by 25 percent in participation and economic impact.
  • Meijer State Games adds Winter Games in 2014 – Building on our successful Games in June, we announced the addition of a Winter Games starting in 2014 (Feb. 14-16) that will include 13 sports plus Opening Ceremonies at Cannonsburg Ski and Ride Area.
  • Felix the Fox debuts as official mascot – We added a furry friend to our team, Felix the Fox, whose image was inspired through a communitywide “Who’s Your Mascot” contest. Watch for him at area sporting events, or book him for an appearance
  • Bryan Baar joins as manager of Art Van Sports Complex – We are fortunate to have someone of Bryan’s talents to manage operations, including marketing the complex and booking tournaments while under construction. 
  • Miracle Field opens to packed crowd – At least 500 people came to watch inaugural games Sept. 21 as part of the dedication of the West Michigan Miracle League’s Nate Hurwitz Miracle Field – one of only five of its kind in the state and the only one in West Michigan – on the grounds of the Art Van Sports Complex.

It’s been an exciting year, and we’re looking forward to 2014 when one of our biggest milestones will be the opening of the new Art Van Sports Complex. Speaking of which while we’re in the holiday season – consider giving a legacy gift of an engraved brass-inlayed bat, softball or baseball, or paving brick that will be on permanent display at the complex.

Thanks to everyone in the West Michigan community for supporting sports to improve our economy and quality of life. Talk to you in 2014!


Mike Guswiler
Guest Blogger
Mike is the President of the West Michigan Sports Commission.

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