Last updated on March 23rd, 2021 at 01:39 pm
As the region’s professional and college teams are finally able to bring fans back into stadiums, youth sporting events have also returned to downtown Milwaukee, providing a welcome economic boost.
The Badger Region Volleyball Association this month is hosting its championship tournament at the Wisconsin Center over three weekends: March 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28. The event brings 3,000 to 4,000 attendees each weekend and collectively generates an estimated $4.7 million in economic impact to the convention center and downtown area, according to VISIT Milwaukee.
“These tournaments create much needed stimulation for our local economy, furthering the city’s comeback from this pandemic,” said Peggy Williams-Smith, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. “Additionally, it demonstrates Milwaukee’s ability and expertise in hosting successful events during a pandemic or hopefully near the end of one.”
The Wisconsin Center hosted the Wisconsin Juniors Volleyball Club Winter Classic earlier this month as the first youth sports event since the start of the pandemic. That event was estimated to bring about 4,000 attendees and more than $1.8 million in economic impact to the Milwaukee area.
Under the Wisconsin Center’s COVID-19 safety plan, capacity inside the second-floor exhibit hall is capped at 1,250 people, and only one spectator per athlete is allowed. Face masks are required for all attendees, including players. Seating areas are socially distant.
Meanwhile, the first floor of the convention center is currently being used as a FEMA site for the COVID-19 vaccine. Attendees are asked to stay off the first floor except when entering from Wisconsin Avenue. Teams may enter 30 minutes before their tournament begins, while spectators are limited to 15 minutes, and all must leave 15 minutes after their tournament ends, which gives cleaning staff time to disinfect between tournaments.
A news release from VISIT Milwaukee notes the city of Milwaukee’s updated health order, which went into effect today, may relax some of the tournament’s protocols.
Youth volleyball is one of several sporting event bookings VISIT Milwaukee is targeting through its new ‘Sports Milwaukee’ division, set to launch in early April. The division was first announced early last year, but the pandemic delayed its official launch.
“The Milwaukee area has some incredible wins in terms of booking national and international sporting events, but we want to ensure that we continue to build on that momentum,” said Marissa Werner, director of sports development. “We’re looking ahead to identify and obtain the next big wins for the city for many years to come, and we’ll accomplish that with this new division.”
Sports Milwaukee is managing several future events including the 2021 Ryder Cup, NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament First/Second Rounds 2022, USGA Youth Amateur Championships 2022, and USGA Women Open 2025. Werner is also working on bids for amateur, college and professional sports, according to the news release.
Read the March 8 issue of BizTimes Milwaukee here: