Sports Council to tout Kitsap’s strengths

In an effort to bring all levels of tournament play to local venues, the Kitsap County Sports Council is raising both money and visibility.

“We want to let people know that we have the facilities and capabilities to host these events,” said Kitsap Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Executive Director Grant Griffin. “And we will have succeeded if we can get one organization to schedule regular play here during 2006.”

While the county is not likely to host any high-visibility events (a small number of hotel rooms is a limitation), Griffin says there is a huge potential.

“There is lacrosse, soccer, baseball, the Special Olympics. We want to encourage all organizations to host tournaments,” he said. “And the council can help them with logistics, organization, advice and even some financial support.”

The council submitted a $42,000 budget for the remainder of 2005. Griffin said the 2006 budget would be around $72,000 and would include the salary for a director.

Griffin said he’d “love to find an aggressive, enthusiastic college kid who knows a lot about sports and sports marketing to fill the job.”

The Kitsap Sports Council will have a separate board of directors that may overlap some members with the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.

Griffin said the council needs to use its imagination for event development. The big events, like NASCAR, are already covered. Something like a soap box derby or creative use of the Bremerton Ice Arena will benefit from sports council support.

Funding from other sports councils come from local lodging taxes. After a presentation to the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners, the commissioners sent an instruction to Treasurer Barbara Stephenson to explore funding options.

The Sports Council published a mission statement, claiming to “improve our region’s quality of life by providing resources that indentify, develop, facilitate and market the Kitsap Peninsula as a desirable destination for sports activities, events and attractions.”

In preparing the data, the Kitsap County Sports Council gathered information from existing similar organizations in Spokane, the Tri-Cities, Wanatchee and Yakima.

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