Thousands of young volleyball players from throughout the country will set, spike, dig and block in Minneapolis two summers from now for their signature national event, local officials announced Wednesday.
The Minneapolis Convention Center will host the USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships from June 25 through July 2, 2014.
The volleyball championships attract nearly 9,500 athletes and more than 20,000 spectators annually. Meet Minneapolis President and CEO Melvin Tennant said the event's $60 million economic influx would surpass that of the 2008 Republican National Convention, which attracted 45,000 visitors over four days.
"And unless you guys do something wildly controversial, I expect you to use ... fewer police resources," Mayor R.T. Rybak said during a news conference, referring to mass arrests of protesters during the convention.
Officials said they worked for more than a year to land the event, which they say will generate $2.25 million in local taxes.
Champions will be crowned in 19 divisions, with players ranging in age from 12 to 18. The event also draws hundreds of college recruiters.
In addition to Minneapolis, 13 other metro cities have pre-booked lodging in more than 65 hotels: St. Paul, Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Eden Prairie, Edina, Maple Grove, Mendota Heights, Minnetonka, New Brighton, Plymouth, Roseville and St. Louis Park.
Minneapolis has hosted several USA Volleyball events, including the Girls' Junior National Championships in 2007.
Winning the bid for the 2014 championships could help attract other major sporting events, according to Matt Meunier, national account executive for Meet Minneapolis.
Once athletic organizations see the good work Minneapolis does with USA Volleyball, he said, "we build a strong rapport and credibility. Then they go, 'If it's good for USA Volleyball, it's good for us, too.'"
Meunier said Meet Minneapolis is trying to secure the MLB All-Star Game for 2014, which would immediately follow the USA Volleyball event if the city is successful.