Chesterfield building reputation for major sporting events

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Chesterfield County is looking to generate some major money with sports tourism. It will use what it already has. The goal is to have Chesterfield known for a major sporting event in five years.

It's already home to an international little league championship, but Chesterfield isn't stopping there.

"This initial phase is really looking at the actual facilities for the venues, what events are being held and how we can promote those events, grow those events," explained Karen Aylward.

She is leading the sports tourism project for the Chesterfield Economic Development Authority.  The project has a five year due date.

Is Chesterfield ready? Is it capable to handle crowds?

"I do think that's part of this whole strategy, identifying what opportunities there are and then identifying what businesses would stand to benefit from those opportunities," said Aylward.

The county has several venues already available for use: public fields, SportsQuest and the Ukrop's soccer fields. An aquatics center is currently under construction.

The Richmond Visitors and Convention Bureau crunched the numbers. People visiting Chesterfield spend about $200 a day. Now Chesterfield just needs to find that money-making athletic event.

Parent Anglia House wants the county to consider competitive cheerleading.

"Every competition costs me anywhere from $300-$500 and that's being on a budget," said House.

All of that money is going to other states. Nine-times this year she's traveled for competition.

Tax payer Sarah Cline said if done right, sports tourism could boost Chesterfield's budget.

"We'll be selling tickets, selling food and I think it will give people even more career opportunities to come out here," said Cline.

Chesterfield wants to be able to take advantage of another opportunity -- state high school athletic tournaments. Right now, the county can't host the events because the school facilities cannot handle the crowds.

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