The Columbus Dispatch
Volleyball Final Four could put city on worldwide stage
In sports, it’s easy to focus on a hit. It’s the culmination of extraordinary effort, things like a great pass or perfect setup for that smashing success.
Columbus has an opportunity this month to smash one of its biggest hits in sporting history, and we need your help to take a pass at setting up this chance to earn global recognition, the type that will impact everyone in central Ohio.
In a partnership that includes The Ohio State University and Nationwide Arena, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission will host the 2021 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Final Four. The competition will be historic for the participants and our community.
h This is the first time any city has hosted the NCAA Men’s and NCAA Women’s D1 Volleyball Championship in the same year since 1984 (Los Angeles).
h This is the second time this millennium any city has hosted the Women’s Volleyball Championship twice in a six-year span.
Columbus is volleyball.
The game is literally built here by Sports Imports – the leading volleyball equipment provider in the country that is located in Hilliard. The game is developed here. The Ohio Valley Region is USA Volleyball’s largest region with 25,000 members.
And champions are crowned here – since 2000, Columbus has hosted 17 national volleyball events (with four more on the docket in coming years).
When we hosted in 2016, 17,345 fans visited Nationwide Arena for each of three sessions. The direct economic impact was more than $14 million for the city.
More than 2,700 attended the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) convention that coincides with the tournament and takes place at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. These events fill hotel rooms, restaurants, and shops that are at the core of our economic vitality.
Our mission at the Greater Columbus Sports Commission is to rally Columbus to compete for and win sporting events. As we get ready to celebrate our 20th birthday in 2022, we take immense pride in having brought over 550 new sporting events to Columbus, generating an estimated $625 million in direct visitor spending here.
These events also put Columbus on a global stage. The 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Columbus earned Sportstravel magazine’s Sports Event of the Year, beating out events like the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics.
Columbus became the first NCAA Women’s Final Four host to receive a sustainability certification from the Council for Responsible Sport for its sustainability efforts and achieved the Evergreen Certification – the highest possible sustainability certification given.
Global recognition creates opportunities to help people through the power of sport. The Aspen Institute recently awarded Columbus its 2021 Project Play Champion Award for our Community Camp. This national multi-year effort focuses growing national sport participation rates among children under the age of 12. Countless studies prove when children can get outside and play, they have better physical, social, and emotional outcomes, regardless of skill level.
Collaborating with a global leader like the Aspen Institute will enable the Greater Columbus Sports Commission to reach thousands of children in a way we haven’t been able to do in the past.
Even if you’ve never stepped foot on the court, field, ice, track, pool deck or pitch (you get it), the impact of sporting events on our community is undeniable.
Your unwavering support of Columbus can have a profound impact on visitors’ perceptions of our city. We can rally together and ensure events like the 2021 Women’s Volleyball Final Four create memories that live on well beyond a final whistle or city limit. Normally, hits are a culmination.
For the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, we want it to be the beginning of a new era for our region. Columbus is a global player in the world of sports and travel, and our best is yet to come.
Let’s celebrate the success of these amazing athletes, show our guests how Columbus comes together, and create a world-class experience in our hometown.
Linda Shetina Logan is executive director of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission.