Maryland Sports Youth and Amateur Sports Grant & Michael Erin Busch Fund Distributes $1 Million to Sport Tourism Events Statewide for 2022 Fiscal Year

FY 2023 Applications Open for sport tourism events happening after July 1st

Wrestlers grapple during MAWA Wrestling Championships in Wicomico County, Maryland

(BALTIMORE, MARYLAND)  –  The Maryland Sports Commission, through the Maryland Sports Youth and Amateur Sports Grant & Michael Erin Busch Fund, distributed more than $1 million in grants to over 60 youth and amateur sport tourism events throughout the State of Maryland for Fiscal Year 2022.  The State of Maryland operates on a Fiscal Year calendar which runs from July 1st through June 30, meaning the grant funding was awarded to events which happened/ will happen between July 2021 and June 30th of this year.   

“It’s because of this grant that many of our local partners at the DMO (Destination Marketing Organization), CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureaus), and Recreation and Parks-level are able to attract and retain sport tourism events which have an incredible economic impact in their respective communities and regions,” said Terry Hasseltine, Executive Director of the Maryland Sports Commission, adding that Maryland Sports opened the application pool for FY 2023 events (July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023) earlier this week. 

“The impact of the YASG & Busch Fund are allowing us to host over 900 teams in events in the state of Maryland through this summer,” said Krystin Porcella of Top of the Bay Sports, located in Harford County.  Top of the Bay Sports is a Maryland’s Own Events Rights Holder hosting numerous events in the State throughout the calendar year. 

Competitors fight for the draw during a Top of the Bay Sports Event

“The grant enables us the opportunity to bring back elite runners to the annual Baltimore Running Festival…. (putting) a national – and international – spotlight on the State of Maryland and it’s marquee endurance event,” said Lee Corrigan of Maryland-based Corrigan Sports Enterprises (CSE), an Event Rights Holder based in Elkridge Maryland.  CSE hosts a number of local – and national – events including the Under Armour All America lacrosse tournament, and the Bay Bridge Run, which returned to Anne Arundel and Queen Anne’s counties in October of 2021.  

“For smaller destinations, we are limited in the ability to attract new events. In partnership with Maryland Sports, not only were we able to attract new events, we are able to bring them back for consecutive year(s),” said Eric Teisch, Sales and Membership Director for Visit Howard County, a TEAM Maryland DMO member.  “This type of awareness led to an increase in requests for more information about Howard County and the amenities we have available.”

Fourteen different jurisdictions in Maryland, including Baltimore City and Ocean City, received funding through the grant to assist (retroactively) and help offset the operating costs necessary to execute major sport tourism events, games, matches, showcases and tournaments.  Sporting events funded include everything from youth soccer and softball tournaments, to high school lacrosse showcases, high school All Star basketball and football games, endurance sports, and cycling, as well as the Major League Quidditch Championships in Howard County last summer.

The Major League Quidditch National Championship returned to Howard County for the second consecutive year

“In past years with the Grant, we were limited as to how money could be allocated.  With the addition of the Michael Erin Busch Fund to the Grant, there is more flexibility in how money can be disbursed to organizations like the Next Collegiate League Crown Classic, which aims to grow the sport of lacrosse at local Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and MLS Next in Montgomery County, a program which focuses on growing youth soccer in the United States in Canada, currently operating and playing at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds,” Hasseltine said.

The inclusion of late Maryland House Speaker Michael Erin Busch’s name to the fund was by no means an accident.  Delegate Maggie McIntosh, a longtime friend and colleague of Speaker Busch, added an amendment to include the Speaker’s name to the legislation in committee hearings in 2019.  Busch, a highly recruited Blue Chip Athlete in high school and collegiate football player, dedicated his life to investing in youth and amateur sports, especially in his hometown of Annapolis in Anne Arundel County.   

Senator Cory McCray of Baltimore City, who co-sponsored the legislation in the Senate, shares the same sentiment as the late Speaker when it comes to supporting youth and amateur sports, “This funding would not only support state progress and increase appeal, but it would help our young people have access to sports as an outlet, and path to follow for their future. We can give more children a sense of purpose and connection if adequate funding is provided to open these doors and keep them safe while doing so. There are many people who avoid visiting or moving into our beautiful state, because they are under the impression that we do not have much to offer, especially for the development of our youth. This is not the case, and funding of this nature negates the notion that we do not enrich and empower our youth.”

The Maryland Sports Commission, a division of the Maryland Stadium Authority, has provided grant funding in the past, however, a permanent funding source was defined in 2020 and was approved by state lawmakers in 2021.  Hasseltine hopes Maryland Sports will remain competitive against other states and destinations when it comes to securing and attracting large-scale sport tourism events which have a positive impact on communities across the state.  

In addition to providing money to help offset the execution of sport tourism and other major sporting events, the Grant allows Maryland Sports & TEAM Maryland to attend various industry conferences around the country in an attempt to secure new events to the State, and to continue the operation of the Maryland Sports Spelling Bee, a regional qualifier for the perennial Scripps National Spelling Bee at National Harbor in Prince George’s County. 

For more information on the Maryland Sports Youth and Amateur Sports Grant & Michael Erin Busch Fund, visit: http://mdsporttourism.com/

Competitors in the 2021 Wayne K. Curry Prince George’s County International Junior Tennis Championships pose with their trophies

What They’re Saying:

“Stevenson University partnered with USA Volleyball to host the Men’s Collegiate Beach Volleyball Tournament on campus in September 2021. This tournament provided a groundwork to expand men’s volleyball programs at the collegiate level and worked to create a network for USA Volleyball recruiting. The funds from this grant significantly impacted the success of this event by providing hospitality to the teams traveling to our campus and guests of the university. Additionally, it helped covered many costs associated with this event that allowed us to bring a high level of professionalism and excitement to this event. Additionally, the funds provided allowed Stevenson University to be able to continue this partnership with USA Volleyball and will allow us to continue to grow and expand this program for the next several years.”

Brett Adams, Stevenson University Athletic Director, USA Volleyball Men’s Collegiate Beach Challenge

“For eight consecutive years, JTCC has hosted this major international junior tournament, bringing hundreds of the finest male and female Under-18 international tennis juniors to College Park, MD. In 2021, the ITF event was held August 21-28 and is one of only three ITF Grade 1 Junior tournaments held in North America. The 2021 event drew 202 players, and over 110 additional visitors, including player coaches, family and college coaches. The YASG and Busch Fund supported the successful delivery of this event and helped offset expenses including balls, court officials, athletic trainers, tournament fees, food, trophies and transportation.”

Mike Flynn, 2021 Wayne K. Curry Prince George’s County International Junior Tennis Championships

“Elite Tournaments would like to extend a big THANK YOU to the Maryland Sports Commission and the Maryland Sports Youth and Amateur Sports Grant & Michael Erin Busch Fund for their impact on our 2021 – 2022 event series. This funding has not only directly supported events that are hosted in the state of Maryland, but has also supported the clients we represent and trust us in the management of their events.”

Elle Marks, Elite Tournaments

“The Youth and Amateur Sports Grant has allowed us not only to bring new events to our area, but has also allowed us to take some of our long standing events to the next level.  This grant has given us the opportunity to not only showcase our elite quality facilities, but also highlight everything the Eastern Shore has to offer through opening ceremonies and other various off the field activities.”

Cole Lacey, Wicomico County Recreation, Parks & Tourism (a TEAM Maryland Partner); MAASA

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About Maryland Sports Commission:

Our mission is to enhance Maryland’s economy, image and quality of life through the attraction, promotion, retention and development of regional, national and international sporting events.

The Youth and Amateur Sports Grand and Michael Erin Busch Fund allows Maryland Sports to be more responsive, effective and efficient within the sport tourism and sports event industry for Maryland’s betterment.

Youth and Amateur Sports takes Center Stage at Maryland Tourism & Travel Summit

40th Edition of Conference features All-Star Sport Tourism Panel

From left to right: Kevin Smith, Matt Libber, Terry Hasseltine, Neelay Bhatt, Al Kidd, Kris Smith at the 2021 Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit at Maryland Live! Event Center at Arundel Mills

(HANOVER, Maryland) — The 40th anniversary of the Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit was “One for the books!” declared Ruth Toomey, Executive Director of the Maryland Tourism Coalition. The MTC operates the perennial celebration of hospitality and tourism in the state. Representatives and sponsors from across Maryland gathered in Hanover inside the state-of-the-art Event Center at Maryland Live! Casino for a three-day summit, November 8th through 10th, to celebrate Destination Marketing Organizations, Convention and Visitor Bureaus, hotel operators, restaurateurs, and other organizations that work closely with, or work to enhance, the tourism industry across Maryland. The summit included an opening ceremony at Laurel Race Park and was hosted by TEAM Maryland partner Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County.

“It’s always great meeting new people and getting to have one-on-one time with the speakers,” said Toomey, who planned the event, and echoed nearly all of the attendees – many of whom hadn’t seen one another in-person since the 2019 MTTS at Rocky Gap Resort in Allegany County. “While tourism numbers are up, we are not (fully) recovered. We will have a long road ahead of us,” said Toomey, who took home the “2021 Tourism Person of the Year” honor during the event’s closing ceremonies.

Ruth Toomey (second from right) named 2021 “Tourism Person of the Year”

The Maryland Sports Commission, which has a longstanding partnership with the MTC – and is a multi-year sponsor of the summit – hosted this year’s main panel discussion on Tuesday afternoon. The topic focused on youth and amatuer sport tourism and the positive impact this particular sector of the industry has on local communities and the state as a whole.

Youth and amateur sports continue to prove itself as a near ‘recession-proof’ section of the tourism market,” said Terry Hasseltine, Executive Director of the Maryland Sports Commission. Hasseltine, who admits having serious concerns about the impact that COVID closures and cancellations would have on the industry beginning in early 2020, said that he saw community members working with local governments and event organizers to find ways to make sports happen during the pandemic, “Obviously we were impacted like every other sector of the tourism and hospitality industry. But one of the first things we saw come back online was amateur and professional sports. We saw more people going outside and participating in active, outdoor sports and Event Rights Holders took notice of this and began looking for ways to return to competition spaces in a safe and socially responsible manner.”

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Stars of today and tomorrow shine at Maryland SoccerPlex in Montgomery County

Members of USWNT Highlight Fun-filled Summer in Boyds

(Boyds, MD) —  Nestled between the bustling I-270 corridor and the rushing waters of the Potomac River, there is a place where the sports stars of today and tomorrow shine. It’s not quite a cornfield in Iowa, but if there were a Maryland equivalent to Ray Kinsella’s “Field of Dreams”, it just might be the Maryland SoccerPlex & Discovery Sports Center in the town of Boyds in Montgomery County. 

Home to more than 20 soccer fields, with synthetic turf fields complemented by Bermuda and Kentucky Bluegrass natural surfaces, the complex also includes natural and paved walking trails with picturesque streams and ample green space. In addition to the outdoor sports fields and trails, the campus houses the Discovery Sports Center, a 46,000 square foot arena which has basketball and volleyball courts most of the year. In the winter, a synthetic turf field is laid out, allowing for indoor soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, baseball and rugby. The venue has the capability to host conferences, parties and camps year-round. 

The Maryland Soccer Foundation, Inc. manages the Maryland SoccerPlex, Discovery Sports Center, SAM Soccer and a handful of indoor and outdoor tournaments. In 1999, the Montgomery County Planning Board outlined a proposal to build a $19 million dollar soccer complex near Germantown. According to their website, an initiative between the Maryland Soccer Foundation and the MNCPPC was the first public-private partnership in Montgomery County dedicated to creating the largest, premier recreational facility in the D.C. suburbs of Maryland. 

“The Maryland SoccerPlex and Discovery Sports Center are state-of-the-art facilities which offer so much to the region in terms of their ability to host and attract sports organizations and sports tourism,” said Terry Hasseltine, Executive Director of Maryland Sports.  “Having a facility like this allows the state of Maryland to remain competitive when it comes to recruiting new events to the state, especially as we make the pitch to national and international organizations.”

Extra attention will be given to the complex in Boyds this week as the Maryland SoccerPlex is also the home of the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Officials are expecting an influx of fans to come out to support U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team stars Mallory Pugh and Bronze Ball winner Rose Lavelle, as they return to action for the Spirit this summer. The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Lavelle is expected to miss some upcoming games due to a lingering injury sustained during World Cup play.

“We’re excited to welcome home Rose and Mallory from the World Cup Winning U.S. Women’s National Team” said Matt Libber, Executive Director of the Maryland SoccerPlex and Maryland Soccer Foundation. “While the rest of the country and world may have just learned about the incredibly skilled players like Rose and Mallory, here at the Maryland SoccerPlex, we have been watching them advance women’s soccer everyday this season with the Washington Spirit.” 

Rose Lavelle of the USWNT & Washington Spirit

Fans from across the state will have plenty of opportunities to cheer on their favorite members of the USWNT the rest of the season. The Spirit will host goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and midfielder Julie Ertz of the Chicago Stars later this summer. Their next match against the Houston Dash on Friday July 20th will feature a number of international players, including Rachely Daly of The England Women’s Senior Football Team.  The Spirit will also host Alex Morgan and the Orlando Pride as well as Golden Boot Winner, Megan Rapinoe and Reign F.C. However, soccer fans will have to travel into the District for those matches at Audi Field.

Mallory Pugh of the USWNT & Washington Spirit

“The members of the USWNT are undoubtedly the most popular athletes in sports right now, not just here in the U.S., but across the globe,” said Hasseltine adding, “The fact that Marylanders can make a short trip to Montgomery County to see the Rose Lavelle’s, Mallory Pugh’s and the other stars of the international game shows just how lucky we are to have a facility like the Maryland SoccerPlex so close to us.  We hope we can keep that momentum going as Maryland Sports works to secure future national and international soccer events here in the state.” 

Baltimore is currently one of a number of potential host cities for the FIFA 2026 World Cup™. As part of the Maryland Sports bid, the Maryland SoccerPlex is listed as a potential training site for participating nation’s teams. 

For more information about the Maryland SoccerPlex & Discovery Sports Center visit:

http://www.mdsoccerplex.org

For more information about the Washington Spirit, including their upcoming schedule, visit:

https://washingtonspirit.com/

About Maryland Sports:

The mission of Maryland’s Sports Commission is to enhance Maryland’s economy, image and quality of life through the attraction, promotion, retention and development of regional, national and international sporting events. 

Photo Credits: @MDSoccerPlex, Instagram & @washingtonspirit, Instagram

Softball Teams from around U.S., Canada takeover Lower Shore for annual USSSA Tournament

Since 2007, USSSA Tournament grows from 30 teams to almost 400

(SALISBURY, MD) — Nearly 400 softball teams from across the country will travel to Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore for the annual United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) Eastern Nationals Championship. What started as a tournament of 30 teams in 2007, has swelled to more than 370 in a little more than a decade. With more than 5,000 players and their families visiting the Delmarva peninsula over the next three weeks, tournament play will be spread out at venues across Wicomico and Worcester Counties, as well as Ocean City.

“For the teams, the event and the location is a perfect culmination of their season – playing competitive softball in arguably the East Coast’s best summer beach community,” said Bill Dowell, USSSA Vice President of Fastpitch/ Maryland & Delaware State Fastpitch Director.

Andrew Kurtz, Wicomico County sports marketing representative, says many families also use the softball tournament as an opportunity to take advantage of the Lower Shore as a vacation destination, “Wicomico and Worcester Counties and the Town of Ocean City will see a boost in tourist activities throughout the three weeks of tournament play.” Kurtz and tournament organizers say teams will be traveling to the region from all across the United States, from as far west as Utah, with some visitors coming from Canada as well.

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TOP of the BAY Lacrosse Prepares Youth for Life Outside Lax

Lacrosse tournaments on hot summer days in Maryland are nothing out of the ordinary for players, coaches and parents across the country. This June, Harford and Cecil County will host a brand new tournament with an invaluable message: One Love.  Continue reading

2018: What has Passed, What is Ongoing & What’s to Come in Maryland!

The new year has started in full swing, with events of all sport types taking place across the State of Maryland. If you have missed any, don’t worry! Here is a brief overview of what has already happened and what’s to come for Maryland Sports, our TEAM Maryland Partners, MAASA & Maryland’s Own! Continue reading