County to benefit from efforts
to bring new sports events to Louisville
(October 2001) Buckner, KY Attempts by Louisville
economic development officials to lure to the city major
amateur and professional sporting events could have a
wide-reaching tourism impact on neighboring counties,
including Oldham and Carroll in Kentucky, and Clark and
Floyd in southern Indiana, according to Andy Jugan, director
of the Greater Louisville Sports Commission.
Many conventions that take place annually
in Louisville already fill hotel rooms in these counties.
But Jugan said efforts are under way to bring several
new sporting events to the city that would likely require
using sporting facilities and hotel rooms in nearby counties.
In fact, his bid applications to host organizations
events often include such amenities as part of Louisvilles
greater metropolitan base. He says bringing such events
to Louisville in many cases can also boost the local economy
in these outlying areas.
Many people believe our commission was created to
bring an NBA team to Louisville. But we are about more
than that. We are an economic development agency disguised
as a sports entity, Jugan told a group of about
200 people Sept. 5 attending the Quarterly Regional Forum
at the Oldham County Community Center.
Jugan said that in its first year of existence, the sports
commission used its $200,000 in funding to generate $21
million in bookings on future events. Jugan used the opportunity
to announce that Louisville would play host to its first
marathon next spring in conjunction with the Kentucky
Derby Festival. The marathon will be staged the last weekend
in April 2002 as a companion event to the existing mini-marathon.
He expects about 7,500 participants, with only 8 percent
local residents making up the field.
Many runners bring friends or family with them who
like to run in shorter events, such as a 10K or mini-marathon,
so its a good way to make one event even larger,
Jugan was one of three speakers on the forum, which was
conceived by Jefferson County Judge-Executive Rebecca
Jackson a year ago to help foster closer relationships
with local officials in 23 outlying counties around Louisville.
The area includes Carroll, Trimble, Henry, Oldham and
Shelby in Kentucky, plus Jefferson, and Scott in Indiana.
The forum was jointly hosted by Oldham County Judge Executive
John Black and the Oldham County Chamber of Commerce.
Jugan is a former coach and sports administrator who took
over the newly created position in March 2000. He said
his job is to bring large amateur events to Louisville
that bring a lot of people and lots of money into the
His job is challenging, considering the number of events
held each year and the competition among large U.S. cities
to play host to them. Jugan said that 15 years ago there
were only four municipal sports commissions in the country.
Today, there are more than 300.
Jugan and his staff of three spend much of their time
preparing bids and applications to sports commissions
around the county, many of them based in Indianapolis
and Colorado Springs, Colo. But that is only the beginning.
They must also arrange for the services, practice facilities,
medical and transportation needs of teams that will compete.
They also train volunteers to help stage the events. Finally,
they must make sure the events go off smoothly so the
teams and sponsoring agency will want to come back.
Many of these amateur events involve basketball, volleyball,
soccer, boxing, track and field, and running. For example,
an adult tennis tournament held in Louisville this summer
involved 2,000 competitors playing on 56 tennis courts
at five venues throughout the metro area, including one
in New Albany, Ind. A recent USA Girls Junior Volleyball
event attracted 578 teams, including parents and coaches,
who filled 22,000 hotel room nights and pumped $10 million
into the local economy. Future events could require the
use of baseball or soccer fields in outlying counties,
Louisville has become a hotbed for soccer,
said Jugan. He said he has already met with Soccer Blast
officials in Buckner about the possible use of that indoor
Measuring the economic impact of such events touches three
aspects, Jugan said the income generated at hotels,
restaurants, rental car agencies and souvenir shops; the
positive image that spectators and TV audiences may get
of Louisville through their visit or viewership; and the
quality of life reflected of the area. In addition, there
are residual benefits upgraded facilities and newly
acquired sports equipment that are left behind for others
to enjoy, plus pools of trained volunteers who may be
available to work future events.
Ive been a big supporter of the sports commission,
even though not everyone on my commission is for it,
said Jackson. But no matter what, we have to think
regionally on how we face these issues.
Amanda Sinnette, executive director of the newly formed
Oldham County Economic Development Council Inc., said
that whenever good things happen in Louisville,
theres a spinoff effect that helps us here in Oldham,
so these type of events will give Oldham more exposure.
She predicted impact to Oldham Countys hotels and
restaurants and possibly in other ways. Who knows?
There may be someone visiting here who might decide to
move here or locate a new business here because of their
And what about all that publicity over an NBA team in
Jugan says he would welcome an NBA franchise. But
when you start looking at the economic impact, it gets
hazy. Theres not been a stadium built anywhere with
municipal dollars that has been a positive cash flow situation
for the community.
He cited studies that show many pro teams draw primarily
from local residents, thereby redistributing the expendable
income within a community. When you define economic
impact, its new dollars.
Instead, Jugans commission is looking at such items
as professional soccer. Louisville is on a list of 10
cities targeted for possible expansion by Major League
Soccer. Theres also a womens collegiate basketball
tournament coming to Louisville this winter.
So you may not see the likes of Reggie Miller or Shaquille
ONeal battling on the hardwood in Louisville anytime
soon, since its those other types of sporting events
that bring new money into the community.