Visit Owensboro announces ‘game changer’ for tourism industry

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OWENSBORO, Ky (WEHT) – Visit Owensboro announced Friday a “game changing” development to the tourism and hospitality industry in the Owensboro and Daviess County area.

A public private partnership was announced between the Daviess County Fiscal Court, the City of Owensboro, and Owensboro Health.

Officials declared Owensboro and Daviess County will become the complete sports solution at the Owensboro Convention Center. The project includes a modular, portable sports floor and equipment that will allow for multiple sporting events, including volleyball and basketball.

On the floors in the convention center’s main exhibit halls, different types of floors could be seen soon.

“We all win with today’s announcement,” said Mark Calitri of Visit Owensboro.

Portable floors are just one part of the public private partnership to bring basketball, volleyball and other indoor sporting events to the convention center.

“I feel like we have an opportunity with volleyball tournaments. That’s a very fast growing sport right now, especially in the youth travel division, and that’s one of the key sports we’re going to be going after,” says Laura Alexander, G.M. of the Owensboro Convention Center.

The floors will cost $600,000. Owensboro Health will cover half the cost and the city and county will cover the other half. Calitri says the Owensboro Indoor Sports partnership stems from a 2018 study showing a sports demand in the city. He says hosting more tournaments can lead to more business and tourism.

“For a 35 team volleyball event, 12 athletes per team, that’s 420 athletes. Then you add in the parents, the coaches, the fans, that’s a lot of people right here in Owensboro-Daviess County spending money in our hotels, eating at our restaurants,” he explained.

“It would be a great attraction to get people down here.” added Corey Wilford of the Owensboro Thoroughbreds. who also says he’d like to see more AAU basketball tournaments at the convention center.

“When you walk in, it’s a different feel,” he said. “So, to walk in and see 4-5 different courts in there and people playing basketball, that would be a dream come true.”

Officials said in the next few weeks they will move through the process of formalizing the project and will provide more details.

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