Shelley Kirk: Eric, thanks so much for joining us today. We appreciate it. Many of us have seen the men’s volleyball during the Olympics. But other than that we seldom see this kind of competition especially live. What kind of an experience can people expect during this tournament?
Eric Marvin: Well, this is a really exciting unique opportunity for Evansville. As you mentioned, not many people get to experience an event like this live. And this is the highest caliber competition that we’re able to host. We’re so excited to bring it right here to the Ford Center. This is going to be a preview of the 2021 Olympics, as you mentioned, and we think that fans from all over the Midwest are going to come to take this in as this is their only opportunity to see international men’s volleyball prior to the Olympics.
Shelley Kirk: Now just last week, we heard Evansville Sports Corp announced the division to Elite Eight coming back to the city as well as women’s cross country national championship and swimming and diving championships and coming years, then you have this announcement today. What does this mean for Evansville and for our economy?
Eric Marvin: Well, we have a jam packed schedule for 2021. And beyond, obviously, COVID has had a huge impact on our organization and the industry as a whole. But we’ve been working very hard to continue to look to the future and bring new events and opportunities. And the reality is we have an extremely bright future ahead as a community. As I mentioned, 2021 should be a record setting year with events like the Division Two championship, both for basketball and cross country and many others. And you know, the future, our look back all the way through 2026 is bright as well.
Shelley Kirk: And not only does this bring these teams in to the Ford Center, but we’re talking about the team staying in hotels, and like you said a lot of people you’re expecting a lot of people from out of town to come stay in our city, and I’m sure they’re going to be eating dinner and going out and staying in hotels as well. So this is not just helping the Ford center, but our entire community, right?
Eric Marvin: Oh, absolutely. I mean, we anticipate that this event alone will create an economic impact somewhere in the million dollar range. You know, we expect somewhere between 1500 and 2000, hotel room nights, just the week of the event. As you mentioned, spectators are going to be coming in from all over. We’ve already heard today from fans around the Midwest, that they’re excited to travel here for the event. So it’s gonna be a huge impact for our community when we really need it. I think this is a great step on the road to recovery for all of us in 2021.
Shelley Kirk: Absolutely. Now, when you are able to make an announcement like you did with the men’s USA volleyball team, what does that do in your attempt to really solidify Evansville as a sports tourism spot? Does it help you then and getting other big tournaments and games here as well?
Eric Marvin: Yeah, most definitely does our success with NCAA championships. And now, you know, we’re delving into more and more Olympic sports just continues to build our resume as a host community. And it allows those event operators and organizers that are out there to understand that we know how to host events at a very high level. And anytime that you see this type of experience, new events are far more comfortable bringing events to our community. So we definitely think this will pay dividends moving forward and we’ll be able to see more opportunities. Of course, the key variable to that is we need people to come out and support and that’s always the case. And so we’ll look for that in May as we bring in this event and the rest throughout the year.
Shelley Kirk: Absolutely. And as I just said we have the schedule as well as ticket information on our website tri state homepage calm. Thank you, Eric Marvin, Evansville Sports Corp for taking the time to talk with us today. Appreciate it.
Eric Marvin: Absolutely. Thanks.