Minneapolis will host two USA Volleyball events in 2017 that are expected to draw 45,000 athletes and spectators to the city.
Both the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships and the USA Open Volleyball Championships will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center in late June and early July 2017. Organizers said Friday that they expect those events will generate $65 million in economic activity — more than the $50 million estimated to have been generated by last year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
It’s the first time the organization has hosted two of its three major championships in the same city in the same year. USA Volleyball has hosted major tournaments in Minneapolis several times in recent years, including the Girls’ Junior National Championships in 2014 and the Boys’ Junior National Championships in 2011.
In a news conference Friday, officials touted the work of Sports Minneapolis, a new arm of convention and tourism authority Meet Minneapolis. The organization ramped up its efforts to recruit major sporting competitions last year and has recently secured events ranging from the 2018 Super Bowl to national events in racquetball, swimming, cross-county skiing and golf.
The United States Open Racquetball Championships are currently underway at Life Time Fitness in the Target Center. That event has attracted more than 750 players from 15 countries, including Colombia, Ireland, Japan, Mexico and Venezuela.
Mayor Betsy Hodges said landing the volleyball championships and other major sports demonstrates the city’s interest in health and wellness — and benefits the local economy.
“The economic impact we experience as the city of Minneapolis is huge,” she said.
The 2017 volleyball events are expected to attract about 20,000 athletes participating on 1,800 teams. The Convention Center will be turned into 70 volleyball courts for the event.
According to Meet Minneapolis, sports events account for the largest number of hotel room bookings in Minneapolis, making up about 35 percent of the hotel traffic. By comparison, corporate events account for about 26 percent of hotel bookings.
Officials said they are currently working on bids for several other events and expect to hear back this year about two of them: the U.S. Masters Swimming Summer Nationals in 2017 and the 2020 College Football Playoff Championship Game.