NAIA track championships honored as a 2018 Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism by Sports Destination Management

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

Media Contact:

Ally Dorrough • Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission
[email protected] •
1-800-745-SAND • 251-968-9327 (direct) • 334-391-7745 (cell)

GULF SHORES AND ORANGE BEACH, ALA. – 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 was the 2018 NAIA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field National Championships, produced in cooperation with the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission and the city of Gulf Shores. The championships took place May 24-26, 2018 at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex, featuring 1,253 student-athletes from all over the country, producing 2,929 room nights and $3.12 million in direct visitor spending.

“This year’s nominations were incredible,” said Publisher Fonda Johnson. “We were amazed not just by the sheer volume of events, but by the scope. We saw an amazing array of entries — from team to individual, from youth to seniors, and across all disciplines and all levels of play.”

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.

Read Now: Article on Winners
Read Now: Article on Economic Impact and Trends in Sports Tourism

Large Market Champions

  • 2018 NCAA Final Four & San Antonio Sports / San Antonio Local Organizing Committee
  • 2018 NFL Draft & Dallas Sports Commission
  • 2018 AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships & Visit Orlando
  • The Honda Classic & Palm Beach County Sports Commission
  • Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour & City of Austin
  • Pop Warner Super Bowl & National Cheer and Dance Championships & Disney Sports
  • Hoop Group Pitt Jam Fest & SportsPITTSBURGH
  • GPS Memorial Day Tournament & Massachusetts Sports Marketing Office

Mid Market Champions

  • 2018 CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament & Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority
  • 2018 AAU Junior Olympic Games & Catch Des Moines
  • Forrest Wood Cup & Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board
  • The American Legion World Series & Shelby, North Carolina, Chamber of Commerce
  • WFDF 2018 World Ultimate Club Championships & Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Gulf Coast Challenge Powered by the Mobile Sports Authority & Mobile Sports Authority
  • 2018 Jam On It Reno AAU Memorial Day Tournament & Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority
  • Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships & Collier County Visitors Bureau
  • Publix Savannah Women's Half Marathon and 5K & Savannah Sports Council
  • 2018 TSSAA Spring Fling & Rutherford County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Small Market Champions

  • Crossroads of America College Showcase & Hamilton County Tourism, Sports Indiana
  • FLW Cup & Visit Hot Springs
  • Grand Slam Baseball World Series & Visit Panama City Beach
  • World Amateur & City of Myrtle Beach
  • NTBA Boys National Championship (3rd-8th Grades) & Myrtle Beach Sports Center and Visit Myrtle Beach
  • Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program (MoNASP) State Tournament Championship & Branson Chamber and Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • NAIA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field National Championships & Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission and City of Gulf Shores
  • 2018 Maverik National Lacrosse Classic & Delaware Sports Commission, Kent County Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Governor's Challenge & Wicomico County Recreation, Parks & Tourism
  • 2018 USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships & Visit Hagerstown and Washington County CVB/Maryland Sports
  • 2018 National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division III World Series & Greene County Partnership Tourism/Sports Council
  • Little League Senior League Softball World Series & Delaware Sports Commission, Delaware Tourism
  • 2018 NCAA Division I Baseball Regional - Greenville, NC & Greenville-Pitt County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Innovations in Sports Tourism

  • 2017 US Junior Open Squash Championships & Connecticut Convention and Sports Bureau
  • Waupaca Boatride Volleyball Tournament & Oshkosh Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Millinocket Marathon and Half & Maine Sports Commission
  • GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods & Visit Anderson and VisitGreenvilleSC
  • Women's West Coast Tournament of Champions Presented by Cliff Keen & Placer Valley Tourism

For information on upcoming athletic events along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, visit, or call 1-800-745-SAND.



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About Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission:

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission is a partnership between Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism (GSOBT), the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber and the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. In 2007, this commission became a department within GSOBT. In this role, the commission – along with assistance from both cities – works to bring quality sporting events to Alabama’s Gulf Coast. To learn more about playing along Alabama’s 32 miles of white-sand beaches, please visit

About Sports Destination Management: 

Sports Destination Management is written for the largest audience of sports event managers and tournament directors in the sports tourism market and maintains a focus on the important issues surrounding event location decisions and event management. With content from experts and thought leaders, SDM provides in-depth coverage of sports event planning and execution through incisive and relevant articles as well as insightful, real-world case studies showcasing best practices and successful event production.

In addition to the publication, SDM offers extensive digital resources through and the e-newsletter SDM Blitz, both providing decision support tools for organizers to ensure successful events at all levels of play.

About Due North Media:

Due North Media, a division of Due North Consulting, Inc., is a niche business-to-business publisher providing media services to executives within specialized vertical markets impacting economic development including corporate site selection, business development, market-to-market events and sports tourism via publications, digital media, qualified list marketing and custom publishing.

Founded in 2001, Due North Consulting, Inc. has helped niche marketers obtain their goals for a decade and a half. The principals of the company have over 40 years of business-to-business advertising and marketing experience. It has been their mission to serve readers, clients and employees with integrity, humility and a continuing quest for the achievement of excellence.