Greater Miami to benefit from incremental championship sporting events during economic recession
By Scott E. Pacheco
Miami is to benefit from hosting a plethora of incremental championship-type sporting events this year — a much-needed injection of millions during an economic recession.
"With the world economic situation the way it is, this is the perfect time," said William D. Talbert III, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Several major championship events are making Miami debuts or returning to South Florida after a hiatus, Mr. Talbert said.
It started Sunday with the Miami Dolphins hosting a playoff against the Baltimore Ravens, where Mr. Talbert said he saw "a lot of purple jerseys," the Ravens' team colors, in the stands. It was the Dolphins' first playoff appearance in years.
And tonight (1/8) the Bowl Championship Series National Championship game at Dolphin Stadium pits the Oklahoma Sooners against the Florida Gators. Organizers have estimated the economic impact of the game to be in the hundreds of millions.
Other one-time or occasional sports events this year include:
PR Racing 13.1 Series Half Marathon on March 1.
World Baseball Classic, which pits countries from around the world against each other, March 14-19 at Dolphin Stadium. Team rosters are packed with Major League baseball stars.
NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship rounds one and two, March 20-22, AmericanAirlines Arena. It's the first time in 15 years Miami has hosted this event.
McDonald's All American Basketball Tournament on April 1, BankUnited Center — University of Miami campus. The game showcases the nation's top high school basketball players.
USA Volleyball Girls Junior Olympic Championship, June 26 to July 5 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
IndyCar season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"This line-up of events is perfect timing for the destination," Mr. Talbert said.
And in early 2010, the National Football League will play its Pro Bowl in Miami-Dade for the first time since 1975, when it was at the Orange Bowl. A week later, a 10th Super Bowl will take place in Miami — most-ever for one city.
Mr. Talbert said the events don't just come here by chance, with aggressive and smart marketing and planning clearing the way for several of them. He said there have been talks for years about bringing the Pro Bowl here, while the Miami-Dade Sports Commission worked hard for the volleyball tournament, and AmericanAirlines Arena officials helped bring in the NCAA tournament games.
"They don't just call you up and say, "Hey, we are coming,'" he said. "Whatever it takes to get the business, that's what we do."