Highlights is a 30 minute weekly TV show featuring organizations, events, grass-roots efforts and people who move our state and community forward in a positive way.
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The show taped and premiering at 8:30 p.m. on August 29, 2022 highlights plans for the new Capital Sports Center.
We interviewed Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango and City of Charleston’s Chief of Staff, Matt Sutton.
The largest collaborating joint project between City of Charleston and Kanawha County Commission
The City of Charleston and the Kanawha County Commission—along with Senator Joe Manchin, state and local elected officials and members of the community announced plans to establish the Capital Sports Center which will have the capacity to host major regional and national events. The project will be the largest financial joint venture between the Kanawha County Commission and the City of Charleston.
Ben and Matt highlighted key findings from a sports tourism study by The Huddle Up Group for the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau (CCVB) that show the economic impact sports tourism can have on a region and the need for a singular indoor facility to host large regional and national events.
What does it consist of?
The proposed Capital Sports Center will feature an aquatic center, six basketball courts or 12 volleyball courts, an indoor turf field, two wrestling mats, eight pickleball courts, an elevated running/walking track and more.
According to the most recent study by the Sports Tourism and Events Association – State of the Sports Industry Report 2021, the participant driven part of the domestic sports tourism sector was responsible for more than $39 billion in direct spending at the end of 2021, as compared to $15 billion in 2019.
“I am so excited to announce our partnership with the City of Charleston to build the Capital Sports Center,” Ben stated. “Youth sports tourism is a booming industry, and this indoor facility will enable us to compete on a national level. This state-of-the-art, 247,000 square foot facility will have a significant economic impact for our local businesses and economy. With the incredible success of the Shawnee Sports Complex, Kanawha County and the City of Charleston are well positioned to be leaders in sports tourism.”
The CCVB, with funds received through the City of Charleston’s ARPA funds, contracted with The Huddle Up Group to conduct an audit of the current sports tourism work of the CCVB and an analysis of the area’s sporting venues. The study identified facility enhancement/development as an opportunity to grow sports tourism in Charleston. More specifically, it noted the importance of having “anchor” and “tournament friendly” facilities to attract “top tier participant focused championships and their related tourism dollars.”
Matt discussed studies that show once a visitor comes to WV, they are 80% likely to return. He also discussed the ‘Park & Play’ concept in which families come to Charleston and park their car until they leave a few days later. Indicating, everything they need is within walking distance.
The City of Charleston and Kanawha County Commission partnered with ZMM Architects & Engineers to do draft renderings for proposed project.
If you would like to learn more about the Highlights Program, contact Host and Executive Producer Jim Strawn at 304-541-4756.