West Michigan Sports Commission 10TH ANNIVERSARY FACT SHEET

West Michigan Sports Commission



As a $9.45 billion national industry, youth/amateur sports is a serious economic driver, bringing athletes and families to not only play but stay in hotels, dine in restaurants and shop in stores. The West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) was established in 2007 to tap into that industry by promoting West Michigan as the premier venue for hosting youth and amateur sporting events in order to enhance the region’s economy and quality of life.


·       Deb Kay – Board Chair (+15-member Board of Directors, 18-member Advisory Council)

·       Mike Guswiler, CSEE, CTA – President (+9 full-time staff and robust intern program)

10-Year Impact In Numbers

·       Sporting events – 600 youth/amateur sports events were booked/hosted in West Michigan since 2007.

·       Athletes – More than 900,000 athletes and visitors cumulatively attended events.

·       Economic impact – $260 million in direct visitor spending was generated over 10 years.

·       Sports clubs – 50-plus local clubs have partnered with the WMSC to attract and host events.

·       Sports venues – More than 50 sports venues have hosted WMSC events, ranging from the Van Andel Arena, to state-of-the-art sports complexes at West Michigan colleges and universities like Aquinas, Calvin, Cornerstone, Davenport and GVSU. Most also are venues for the Meijer State Games of Michigan and 2017 State Games of America.

·       Interns – 75 interns from colleges and universities across Michigan have worked at the WMSC, including GVSU, Calvin, Cornerstone, Aquinas, Davenport, Northwood, MSU, U of M, WMU, CMU and Hope.


·          2006 – Founded by a visionary group of business leaders led by Peter Secchia.

·          2007 – Became a 501(c)(3) and hired Mike Guswiler as executive director. Hired Natalie Rose and Eric Engelbarts as first staff, who are still with the WMSC.

·          2008 – Hosted first major national event – the National Golden Gloves.

·          2010 – Created and hosted the inaugural Meijer State Games of Michigan - Summer Games, now a signature annual event. Kicked off the “Everyone Wins” campaign to raise $7.5 million to build a championship-caliber baseball/softball complex near Rockford.

·          2012 – Celebrated the groundbreaking of an eight-field baseball tournament complex due to a successful “Everyone Wins” campaign.

·          2014 – Opened the Art Van Sports Complex, featuring eight baseball/softball fields, a covered championship field and a Miracle Field. Added the Meijer State Games of Michigan - Winter Games. Won the bid to host the 2017 State Games of America.

·          2016 – Hosted the NASC (National Association of Sports Commissions) Sports Event Symposium for the first time in Michigan – the original sports tourism industry conference held by the official trade association for the sports tourism industry.

·          2017 – Hosting the 2017 State Games of America Aug. 3-6, featuring 12,000 athletes from 50 states participating in 60 events in 48 sports at 35 venues across West Michigan. The 25,000 attendees are projected to generate $10 million in direct visitor spending.

Noteworthy Events

The WMSC has hosted more than 600 events highlighting a variety of sports, ranging from traditional sports like track, basketball, baseball/softball, volleyball, golf and rowing; to emerging sports like table tennis, pickleball, quidditch, fat biking and professional disc golf. Below is a list of some of the most noteworthy in terms of prestige and uniqueness.

·       USA Table Tennis-US Open – Hosted in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

·       2014 Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Final Five – First time in Michigan.

·       2014 USRowing Masters National Championships – First national rowing event in Michigan.

·       2015 U.S. Masters Synchronized Swimming Championships – First national synchro masters in Michigan.

·       2016 NASC Sports Event Symposium – Annual meeting for the only nonprofit trade association of the sports tourism industry (and first time in Michigan).

·       2016 USA Track and Field (USATF) Masters Outdoor Championships – First national masters outdoor track & field event in Michigan.

·       2017 Professional Disc Golf (PDGA) Masters World Championships – First-ever PDGA Masters World Championships.

·       2017 and 2018 USA Cycling Fat Bike National Championships – Grand Rapids is only the second location since USA Cycling debuted the race in 2015 in Ogden, Utah.

·       Numerous NCAA DII and DIII events – Cross-Country; Outdoor Track and Field; Men's and Women’s Golf; Women’s Basketball, Volleyball and Lacrosse, etc.

·       Meijer State Games of Michigan – Grew this signature annual event exponentially from 2010 with 15 sports, 3,500 athletes and $1.4 million in visitor spending, to 62 sports (Summer and Winter Games) 10,367 athletes and $3.5 million in visitor spending in 2016.




MEDIA CONTACT:     Kim Skeltis, APR; 616-419-8385; kim@blueblazepr.com

Media Contacts

West Michigan Sports Commission:

Katy Tigchelaar

Kim Skeltis, Blue Blaze PR

Meijer State Games of Michigan:

Eric Engelbarts, II

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