When you first take a look at a sports tournament of any kind it looks like a healthy, family friendly opportunity to bring people together for sportsmanship and competition. Further boiled down, it looks like a lot of fun, with memories being made by athletes, spectators, family and friends. Yes, a sports tournament is all those things, but it’s also a lot more.

In today’s world, a well-run sports tournament or athletic event can be an incredible economic generator. When a community like Greater Lansing hosts an itinerant sports event, (which is a sports tournament or event that is bid upon by various host cities) it is bringing thousands of visitors into Greater Lansing who then generate millions of dollars in economic impact for the capital region. Not only is the monetary impact huge, the trend is skyrocketing. Nationally in 2006, itinerant sports tournaments and events generated $5 billion for the local economies in which they were held. Not a bad number, right? Wait, it gets better.

In 2015 that number jumped to just under $9.5 billion. This is out-of-town revenue flowing in to area restaurants, shopping areas, hotels, gas stations and much much more. Talk about your all-around win. Now take that national focus and tighten it onto Greater Lansing Michigan. Mom and Dad bring their daughter and son into Greater Lansing for a sports tournament. Let’s say that sports tournament features 30 different soccer teams. Each one of those teams has a family associated with each player. Each of those family members will need meals, entertainment, a place to stay and on and on. Meanwhile the family bonds, participates in a great athletic event and maybe has their first experience in Michigan's Capital City. When they have a fantastic time, they sure to come back and the cycle starts all over again.

Last year over 70,000 athletes and over 300,000 spectators came to the area for local sports tournaments and contests. What sports? Literally name it - Wrestling, figure skating, hockey, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, baseball, softball, curling, karate and more. From team sports to individual sports to road races of all kinds, sports events are trending up and so is the money they spend when they come to town. The numbers don’t lie. Across the nation participation in adventure races (these are the fun ones where you get messy with color packets or mud) are up 19.4%. Not to be outdone, traditional triathlons are up 17.7%. What does this all mean? It means that human beings want to get out and play, get dirty, work up a sweat and have fun - if you give them a good place to do it, it can mean millions in economic impact.

Who is at the forefront of making Greater Lansing a place that can host successful tournaments and events every year? The Greater Lansing Sports Authority! The GLSA works with event rights holders, local organizing committees, local venues and the local hospitality community to clear red tape, lay out the red carpet and welcome events and the hundreds of thousands of visitors that come with it - right here to Greater Lansing. From early concepting and possibility discussions to day-of tournament support, the GLSA is right there, offering key local insight and enthusiasm. Take a look at this video or tour the newly redesigned lansingsports.org to learn even more, but the bottom line is this: Tournament sports are big business and in Greater Lansing, the welcome mat is out and the Greater Lansing Sports Authority is standing by to lend a hand. Let's play!