Group looks at how to bring more sporting events to Syracuse
Both the NCAA basketball tournament and World Bowling Congress Championships in 2018 will bring thousands of fans and millions or dollars into the Syracuse area. Fans travel to see championships but there is a whole other competition among cities where wins and losses are counted in tourism dollars .
"They're buying gas, they're buying groceries, they're buying restaurant dinners, they're buying everything in the community not just hotel rooms," said Jerry Keohane from the Syracuse University Sheraton.
On Thursday, the Syracuse Sports Corporation hosted the first ever Syracuse Sports Summit. It was a chance to discuss ways to improve sporting events and tourism in the central New York area. While fishing and running have been strong for the area, outdated arena facilities like those at the downtown Onondaga County War Memorial are a challenge.
"We lost the state wrestling championships because the venue in Albany, the venue in Rochester, the venue in Providence are twice as large," said Jon Cooley from the Syracuse Sports Corporation.
The Carrier Dome is one of the most unique venues in all of sports and beloved by most SU fans but it is also 35 years old and facing an uncertain future.
"People are used to state of the art amenities going to a stadium in this day and age. It's all about the game day experience and it's a facility that was built in 1980," said SU Sports Management professor Michael Veley.
Several speakers stressed the importance of emerging sports. The Cranx indoor bike park on Thompson Road in Dewitt has been attracting riders from across the northeast and a massive new skateboard park is currently under construction in Syracuse's Eastwood neighborhood.
"Every community has a baseball diamond, every community has a pool to swim in but not every community has a world class skateboard park or an indoor BMX mountain biking facility," said Daily Orange general manager Peter Waack.