AAU events win Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism awards

Sports Destination Management, the leading publication with the largest circulation of sports event planners and tournament directors in the sports tourism market, has announced the 2018 Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism. This year’s winners are responsible for contributing more than $700 million to the national economy over the past year.

Among the winners were three AAU events: The 2018 AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships, 2018 Jam On It AAU Memorial Day Basketball Tournament and 52nd AAU Junior Olympic Games.

2018 AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships hosted in conjunction with Visit Orlando, ESPN Wide World Sports Complex and Orange County Convention Center.

For the third year in a row, the 2018, the AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships was so honored. The event had 2,758 boys and girls teams (up 320 teams from 2017), generated 112,000 room nights and brought an estimated economic impact of $91 million to the Central Florida area as estimated by Visit Orlando. The event broke the Guinness Book of World Records for largest volleyball event in 2012 — with the number of teams growing each subsequent year — allowing the tournament to retain the title of ‘World’s Largest Volleyball Event’.

The event is more than just competition on the court. Starting in 2016, and continuing into 2018, the AAU has partnered with Feeding Children Everywhere to pack meals for under-served youth in the community as part of its AAU Cares initiative.

Players, coaches and officials sign up to pack meals with the goal of 40,000 meals packed this year. That’s a three-year total of 160,000 meals packed in conjunction with the AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships.

Jam On It is the host of the largest basketball tournament ”Under One Roof in the World” hosted in conjunction with Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority.

Jam On It is the host of the largest basketball tournament under one roof, with 85 courts set up under the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. A total of 2,275 games are played over the course of three days. More than 1,200 amateur youth basketball teams (865 boys, 335 girls) totaling 15,000 athletes (along with 30,000 spectators) come from Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico over the Memorial Day weekend. The event has become a summer kick-off tradition for teams and families.

The 52nd AAU Junior Olympic Games hosted by Catch Des Moines

The event had humble beginnings in 1967 with two sports: track & field and swimming. Now in its 52nd year, it has expanded to be the largest youth multi-sport event in the country this year. It hosts competition in approximately 20 sports, including not just track & field and swimming but pickleball, baton twirling, trampoline, wrestling, karate, jump rope, tumbling, sport stacking and more. Track and field is the largest sport, boasting approximately, 11,500 participants in 2018.

Des Moines has hosted this event, which has 40,000 spectators, five times to date.

All winners of awards have been recognized in a special feature published in the November/December 2018 issue of Sports Destination Management.The entire article with full details on the winners listed below can also be found online along with a special feature on economic impact.