Visit Wichita, the area’s destination marketing organization, has promoted from within to fill a position, which focuses solely on attracting new sporting events to the city. Josh Howell, former sports sales manager at the organization, is Visit Wichita’s new vice president of sports development.
Sporting events are a key pillar at Visit Wichita, and Howell will lead the organization’s efforts to bring new and more sporting events to Wichita, increasing local economic impact through sports, which bring thousands of visitors to the city each year.
“It has been exciting to see sports grow over the years in Wichita, and we’re thrilled to see Josh thrive in this new role as he leads the Visit Wichita sports team,” said Susie Santo, president and CEO of Visit Wichita. “Since he joined our team in 2018, we’ve successfully hosted well known organizations like NCAA and US Figure Skating and a variety of national championships, which are putting Wichita on the map as a Midwest sports destination. We are confident he will carry on the momentum we’ve seen over the past few years and will continue to put Wichita in a position to host even more big-time sporting events.”
Already this year, Visit Wichita has safely hosted several sporting events: NAIA Men’s Wrestling National Championship, the NJCAA Division I and II Men’s Soccer Championship and most recently, the NWBA Toyota Adult & Junior Wheelchair Basketball National Championships. The organization will also host the NJCAA DII Women’s Soccer National Championships in November and the National Beep Baseball Association World Series later this month. Additionally, the organization is assisting Wichita State University as they host the regional rounds of The Basketball Tournament (TBT) that will be held July 16-20 at Charles Koch Arena. Those events combined are estimated to generate millions of dollars in local economic impact.
Howell received his master’s degree in sports administration from Wichita State University. He has more than 13 years experience in the sports and marketing industry and has been a member of the Visit Wichita sports team since 2018. Prior to joining Visit Wichita, he was the director of development, events & marketing at the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission and has held marketing positions at INTRUST Bank Arena, the University of Arkansas, the University of Arizona and Wichita State University.
In addition to Howell’s role as vice president of sports development, the Visit Wichita sports team consists a sports sales manager; Kelli Elmore, sports event manager; and Josh Yandell, sports summer intern. Together, the team works hand-in-hand on sports initiatives.
“I am honored to move into this role at Visit Wichita to not only show people across the country what a great city Wichita is to visit, but also what a great city this is to compete in,” said Howell. “The energy around sports in Wichita has been growing for years, and we see hosting sporting events as a sign of recovering economically from the pandemic in travel and tourism. I look forward to building on the relationships I’ve already made and continuing to market Wichita as a premier sports city in the Midwest.”
About Visit Wichita
Visit Wichita markets the greater Wichita area as a major convention and tourism destination, thereby enhancing the economic development of the city, county, region and state. Visit Wichita is led by president and CEO Susie Santo, and in 2019 travel and tourism contributed more than $1.1 billion in economic impact to the greater Wichita area.