The Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is striving to build on sports tourism in the community, with a new organizational position to help plan even further growth for the future.
The Forest City has established itself as a hub for major tournaments and events, thanks to new venues like the U-W Health Sports Factory, and Sportscore Two.
"It makes my job a ton easier in terms of bringing in people for site visits and when you've got these beautiful venues and close proximity to Chicago and Milwaukee airports, that can really drive a national audience and it becomes much easier."
Nick Povalitis, the RACVB's new director of sports development, has already had success, as recently as this past summer.
"On peak nights in the 1500 to 2000 rooms per night range, ECNL playoffs and then Premier SuperCopa, those were our two largest youth soccer tournaments we've ever hosted," Povalitis said.
Rockford is not only bringing the likes of US Soccer legend Mia Hamm to town - natives Fred VanVleet, Dean Lowry, and Corey Anderson are on board to boost RACVB.
"Quite a unique time for Rockford to have these athletes, for us to help tell those stories, connect with them, and when they come back home, they there's a sense of civic pride and the sense of the community wanting them to come back into market and activate."
The organization's Bring Your Game to Rockford (BYG2RKFD) initiative is just the start, as Povalitis has big plans for the future.
"Sky's the limit. We're in a position now with a pretty consistent base of amateur athletic events with a built out 2018."
Rockford's transformation into a sports tourist destination is trending upward, with Nick Povalitis positioned to fast track that mission.