“After 50 years away, we’re excited to bring this tournament back to Champaign,” explains Darlene Baker, Director of the Illinois Women’s Bowling Association (IWBA). “The facilities and accommodations are ideal for our needs and offer a unique opportunity because both centers are only a block apart. We’re expecting a very successful tournament. Beyond that, we know that the community will eagerly welcome nearly 3,000 women for an incredible experience throughout the tournament.”
Visit Champaign County worked closely with the IWBA to bring the event to Champaign County. After multiple site visits, the tournament will be held at Arrowhead Lanes and Western Bowl from February 24 through April 23, excluding the weekend of the IHSA State Individual Wrestling Tournament (February 18–19, 2017) and Easter (April 15–16).
“We calculate that the IWBA State Tournament will generate approximately $1.3 million in economic impact to Champaign County,” explains Leah Longueville, Director of Sales, who’s worked closely with the tournament committee. “Each weekend from February through April, there will be 200 bowlers participating, generating 400 hotel room nights. We also anticipate many meals out, shopping in our retail outlets and visits to our museums and attractions.”
Preparations for the tournament are well under way, with “Poppin’ Pins in Champaign” selected as the theme of the 2017 Tournament. Visit Champaign County will be reaching out to local establishments on how they can attract the business of these women for nine weeks in what is typically a slower period for travel and tourism.
About the Illinois Women’s Bowling Association
The IWBA was established in 1929 with a mission of working together to provide service and recognition for all Illinois women bowlers. Members of the IWBA along with the members of the United States Bowling Congress make them a part of the largest female sports organization in the world. Most recently, the IWBA State Tournament was held in Lake County, Illinois in 2015 and the 2016 tournament will be held in Rockford. For more information on the IWBA, visit www.illinoisusbcwba.org.
About Visit Champaign County
Visit Champaign County, the local destination management organization, aided organizers in bringing the event to the area and will provide support in helping coordinate media and providing community resources to the nearly 2,000 bowlers attending the tournament. Visit Champaign County’s mission is market Champaign County and a diverse set of events, in collaboration with community stakeholders, to attract and serve visitors, and to positively impact the local economy and quality of life.