By Drew Hays, Sports Sales Manager at Visit Wichita
In the sports world, you hear the terminology “The Big Three” quite a bit. It’s usually in reference to three all-star caliber players being on the same team. The 2012 and 2013 Miami Heat, comprised of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, is a good example.
Did you know that in the sports tourism world there is a “Big Three” as well? Phoenix, Arizona, and Atlanta, Georgia, will serve as host cities of the “Big Three” – NFL Super Bowl, NCAA Basketball Final Four and the NCAA College Football National Championship. Not many cities around the country can claim that feat, much less have the facility and hotel space to accommodate one, let alone all, of those events.
Wichita, although not as large of a market as Phoenix or Atlanta, will soon have a “Big Three” of our own for second-tier markets. In January 2018, Wichita’s INTRUST Bank Arena will host the U.S. Figure Skating Midwestern & Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships. As the U.S. Figure Skating’s largest annual event, it will draw more than 2,000 competitors to the city. Two months later, INTRUST Bank Arena will be the host of the NCAA Men’s 1st/2nd Round Basketball Championship – calculated to bring around $10 million dollars in economic impact to the city. Then in 2019, Northrock Lanes will be the host facility to the United States Bowling Congress Women’s Championships, bringing in 4,000 to 6,000 four-person teams over a 90-day period.
Our “Big Three” – figure skating, basketball and bowling – equates to three entirely different sports and large-scale events that we will happily host. I enjoy speaking with sports tournament directors or rights holders and telling them about all the diverse sporting events Wichita is able to accommodate. Wichita has 34 basketball courts under four roofs, which is absolutely unheard of for a city of our size! We also have three sheets of ice, multiple indoor soccer fields, BMX and MX tracks and an award-winning 15,000-seat arena here in the central part of the USA. You name the sport, and I guarantee we have a facility for you. If we don’t, then Starbucks coffee is on me!
Take a look at our new Sports Facilities Guide for more details on what Wichita offers.