Application window opens on March 1 for Sports Tourism capital fund

28
Advertisement

The Delaware Tourism Office will begin accepting applications on March 1 for the Sports Tourism Capital Investment Fund. Established through the recent Bond and Capital Improvements Act, the fund provides financial support to new or existing sports sites that hold events throughout the year to attract out-of-state visitors and contribute to the economy. 

“Sports tourism is a growing industry in our state and the surrounding region, with millions of dollars spent each year by event participants, their families, and other attendees,” said Gov. John Carney. “This fund will help keep Delaware’s sports tourism industry competitive by ensuring visitors can play at first-class facilities and enjoy the many benefits that our state has to offer while staying here.” 

In recent years, Delaware has been selected to host many national sporting events, including the U.S. Lacrosse Youth Nationals, the MEAC Volleyball Championship, the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships, and the state’s first PGA Tour event, the 2022 BMW Championship, which saw nearly 130,000 attendees and contributed an estimated $30 million to the local and state economy.  

“These national events showcase our state’s ability to host large-scale sports competitions and put Delaware in front of event planners and facility developers from around the country,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “As the $90 billion global sports tourism industry grows, this new fund provides us the opportunity to continue investing in our state’s sports venues to ensure Delaware remains top of mind for national and regional event decision-makers for years to come.”  

Facilities throughout the state also hold smaller-scale sporting events throughout the year in lacrosse, football, soccer, softball, baseball, and other sports. 

Advertisement

“Each year, thousands of people visit Delaware to participate in, or attend, sporting events – filling our hotel rooms up and down the state and providing a boost to local businesses,” said Delaware Tourism Office Director Jessica Welch. “The Sports Tourism Capital Investment Fund allows our state to attract more visitors and continue shining a light on all the great reasons to visit Delaware. I encourage new and existing sports tourism facilities statewide to take advantage of this opportunity to apply for capital funding.”  

One venue likely to make a pitch for the funding is DETurf, a privately owned athletic field complex south of Dover that unsuccessfully sought Kent County lodging tax proceeds.

Requirements

  • Be a facility within the state of Delaware, specifically a high school, collegiate, or recreational venue that generates positive incremental state tax benefits to the State, is used for public purposes, and regularly hosts sports tourism events.
  • Own the property on which the sports facility is to be constructed or renovated or be under a ground lease acceptable to the Division review panel.
  • We have sufficient committed funds, including funding from this program if it is approved, to successfully complete the project.
  • Have a useful life of a length satisfactory to the panel with a detailed maintenance plan and a funding source for maintenance.
  • Promote the Tourism Office to visitors attending sporting events at their sports facility.
  • Indicate tourism-based events it intends to target for its sports facility in the program application.

The Delaware Tourism Office will hold two webinars for applicants on the following dates: Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 11 a.m. and Wednesday, Feb.. 28 at 1 p.m. Registration is required. 

The Delaware Tourism Office will accept investment fund applications until 4 p.m. on April 12. The office’s website provides more information on eligibility, funding requirements, and complete program regulations.  

 

Advertisement
Advertisement