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Sports Minneapolis Wins National Honor For Bringing Top Events to Town

Sports Minneapolis, the organization designated by city tourism entity Meet Minneapolis to focus on bringing national sports events to the Twin Cities was named Sports Commission of the Year on Wednesday.

Sports Minneapolis Wins National Honor For Bringing Top Events to Town
The Minneapolis Convention Center was jam-packed with visitors for the Super Bowl Experience last year.

A Super Bowl, X Games, and more added up to a national win this week for Sports Minneapolis, the division of Meet Minneapolis tasked with bringing major sporting events to town. Sports Minneapolis was named Sports Commission of the Year by the nonprofit National Association of Sports Commission (NASC). The title was awarded during this week’s 2019 NASC symposium in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“We are extremely honored to receive this award,” says Melvin Tennant, Sports Minneapolis executive director and president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis. “It’s important industry recognition for the significant work of our organization to solicit, secure and assist in executing events.”

The sports Commission of the Year honor—category-specific to markets with a population size of 500,000 and greater—recognizes Sports Minneapolis particularly for its work in securing and managing 2018 events.

These include: the Super Bowl, WNBA All-Star Game, the 2018 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Volleyball Championship, and the Summer X Games—which was landed as part of a multi-year deal for 2017 and 2018, that was extended last April to also include 2019 and 2020.

But Sports Minneapolis’ triumphs extend well beyond 2018 events. Tennant says in total, the organization has secured about 70 events for the future. The most notable of those are the recently-held 2019 NCAA Men’s Final Four and the 2022 Women’s Basketball Final Four, as well as the following:

  • 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup
  • 2019 USA Taekwondo National Championships
  • 2020 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships
  • 2020 USA Volleyball Open National Championship
  • 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Gymnastics Championships
  • 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Regional

Created several years ago with the goal of bringing national sporting events to the Twin Cities, Sports Minneapolis’ earliest success was the 2014 Major League Baseball All Star Game.

“These phenomenal events… elevate our community as a championship-caliber host region,” says Tennant. “Large and small sporting events help support tourism and hospitality workers and bring positive economic impact to the area.”

The impact of the 2018 Women’s Volleyball Championships alone is estimated at $11 million. The biggest event Sports Minneapolis has landed of late, the Super Bowl, generated $370 million in spending, according to Pennsylvania-based data analytics firm Rockport Analytics.  

Partnerships with St. Paul and Bloomington go far to demonstrate the strength of the region and Tennant says. Teaming up with the University of Minnesota helped Sports Minneapolis land the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship deal.

“We are very happy for Sports Minneapolis and this well-deserved recognition," says Tom McGinnis, University of Minnesota senior associate athletics director. “"They have been a strong partner…[and] we look forward to continuing our collaboration with them to provide remarkable experiences not only for the teams and fans we welcome, but for everyone in our community."

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