GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The West Michigan Sports Commission says 2022 was West Michigan’s strongest year ever for youth and amateur sports tourism.
The sports commission is reporting that 113 sporting events in 2022 generated $60.5 million in estimated visitor spending while attracting almost 254,500 athletes and visitors and booking 60,520 hotel room nights.
2022’s total is a 63% increase from 2021 and a 65% increase from 2019. There was also a 38% increase in athletes and visitors compared to 2021 and a 10% increase from 2019. Hotel bookings saw a 41% increase from 2021 and a 20% increase from 2019.
“While 2021 was a rebuilding year for youth and amateur sports tourism, 2022 has proven to be a blockbuster year in West Michigan across almost all metrics even when compared against pre-pandemic times, proving the resilience and growth of sports tourism,” Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission, said in a press release.
At the Meijer Sports Complex, the 2022 baseball and softball season generated $8 million from 21 tournaments, 9,906 athletes and 24,765 spectators who booked over 5,500 hotel nights, the sports commission said.
During the Meijer State Games, visitors directly spent $1.74 million between the Summer and Winter Games. The state games included 60 cumulative events and attracted 8,500 athletes.
This year, Guswiler said he and his team are working to continue to increase the number of traveling athletes and visitors and their related hotel revenue. They’re also bidding on new events.
“We look forward to continuing this upward trend as we build back even more, such as growing our ratio of baseball/softball travel teams and increasing State Games participation,” Guswiler said.