Testimonials

The creation of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission in 2002 to attract professional, collegiate, amateur and youth sporting events to Greater Columbus has been a strong success story.  Below you will find additional testimonials from some of the commission’s sports partners over the last decade.

On Columbus as a Sports Destination

“Columbus, Ohio has become my second home.  The people are fantastic, the facilities are spectacular, and the entire community loves sports and fitness.  The Arnold Sports Festival will continue to grow with the great enthusiasm and support of Columbus.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger, State of California Governor

“The Blue Jackets and the City of Columbus could not have been more gracious hosts, and we loved the fan turnout and the level of energy in the building. The NHL Entry Draft got great support, and I think everyone in the community can be proud of their contribution to a terrific weekend.” - Gary Bettman, National Hockey League Commissioner

“We worked closely with U.S. Soccer to have the match here. I’ve been to dozens of qualifiers, and I’ve never been to an event quite like that. Too often, the U.S. team plays in this country and feels like a visitor. We had the home-field advantage (today). Columbus over-delivered in every way.” - Don Garber, Major League Soccer Commissioner

“The Memorial Tournament is a favorite of the players. It’s one of the best-operated tournaments in golf. Muirfield is the only golf course that will have played course to The Ryder Cup, the Solheim Cup and The Presidents Cup, the three big team events in professional golf. It’s the only place that has seen all three of those and is really in the epicenter of the places where our fans are the most passionate about the game of golf.” - Tim Finchem, PGA Commissioner

“Columbus has been named the #1 sports-fan city in the United States.  The growth of the annual Arnold Sports Festival as the largest multi-sport event in our nation has been made possible by this tremendous sports enthusiasm as well as the support of the entire Columbus community.” - Jim Lorimer, The Arnold Sports Festival Producer

On Columbus’ Sports Facilities

“We are excited and privileged to utilize some of the best facilities in the nation right here in Columbus – like Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center, Nationwide Arena and Crew Stadium – as the hosts for many of our state championship events. The staffs at these facilities and the others we use in Central Ohio, combined with the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, do everything possible to ensure that the student-athletes, coaches and fans who participate in our state tournaments have the best possible experience.” - Dr. Dan Ross, Commissioner, Ohio High School Athletic Association

“Nationwide Arena is a great facility and what has been done around the arena to create an atmosphere is tremendous. People were telling me it reminded them of a mini-Final Four. With the proximity of the hotels, and the restaurants and the other things, this is a great site. Ohio State has done a great job from the hosting standpoint of it. They worked really well with the facility and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission. It was a very good partnership.” - Karl Benson, NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee Member

On Columbus’ Sports Experience

“In 2009, when we won the championship, I remember telling my club when the season was over that we got treated better at the Big Ten Conference tournament than the NCAA regional tournament.  “We were treated well (at the regional), but this was one of the best postseason experiences next to the College World Series. Everything was first class.’’ - Indiana University Head Baseball Coach Tracy Smith

“My players had their best experience ever at a Big Ten Tournament before the first pitch.  There always seems to be someone waiting ready to help you.  Everything has been first-class.” - Dan Hartlieb, Head Baseball Coach at the University of Illionis

“We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the wonderful job the Greater Columbus Sports Commission staff, and The City of Columbus did in hosting the Frozen Four.  We always received a warm welcome wherever we were throughout the city.  Restaurants and businesses were staffed for this event which in turn made us feel welcomed.  The free shuttle service to and from the hotels was a nice touch for all attending the event.” - Dick and Ellen Bloom, Lansing, MI, Guests at the 2005 Frozen Four

On Partnering with the GCSC

“The Greater Columbus Sports Commission is a valuable asset that significantly impacts the economy of Central Ohio through visitor spending.  An organization that helps open the doors of Columbus to all types of sporting events and activities, the GCSC provides great opportunities for all to enjoy gifted athletes excel at what they do, while at the same time giving parents of athletes and fans what they need to have a quality experience” - Gene Smith, Ohio State University Athletics Director

“Our history and our place in history with soccer and Major League Soccer is something that is intrinsic when you come here. We’ve hosted so many great events from the MLS All-Star Game, MLS Cup, NCAA Men’s College Cup and World Cup Qualifiers. The history that we’ve built up over 15 seasons in Crew Stadium is really remarkable and something that we want to continue to amplify within the community and make sure they continue to take a lot of pride in that. When events come here, partners like the Greater Columbus Sports Commission make sure that we roll out the red carpet and that we do it right so that every stakeholder from the players to the administrators to the fans to the sponsors has a tremendous experience in Columbus. We have a unique ability to deliver that…we have a reputation.” - Mark McCullers, President and General Manager, Columbus Crew

“Our department, along with the Greater Columbus Sport Commission, put our best foot forward in February 2011 to get the attention of the NCAA committee and show that we can draw very well at Nationwide Arena and believe we will even more in the future.  That’s one of the reasons we’ve really reached out to the sports commission and asked them to help us promote the game. Women’s basketball in Columbus is gaining popularity at a rapid pace and we have one of the best downtown arenas in the country to play host to a Women’s Final Four.” - Miechelle Willis, Ohio State Senior Associate Athletic Director/SWA

“Over the past 3 years HNS Sports Group has had the great fortune of working with the Columbus Sports Commission on a number of various projects; the most prominent being the 2013 Presidents Cup. From the beginning selection process the sports commission has provided invaluable representation and support. And with each step of the way they have exhibited their ability to support central Ohio organizations seeking to host major events within the market. The region is fortunate to have such a strong organization and effective leadership within the commission.” - Dan Sullivan, President, HNS Group & Executive Director, the Memorial Tournament

“Columbus is a great city to host an event. We were pleasantly surprised at all Columbus had to offer to our participants. The Columbus Sports Commission, Ohio Valley Region and the entire Columbus community went above and beyond in rolling out the red carpet to our athletes and fans to make USA Volleyball’s experience in Columbus for the 2012 Girls’ Junior National Championships a great one. We had record attendance and look forward to hosting more events in Columbus in the future.” - Kristy Cox, USA Volleyball Director of Events

“The Ohio Valley Region (OVR) of USA Volleyball, is one of the largest regions in the country and we discussed with the Greater Columbus Sports Commission about bidding on the the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships in 2012, which is one of the largest sporting event in the country, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. With a collaborative effort, the three entities brought the 2012 championships to Columbus. It became one the largest events booked in Columbus’ history, the largest in the sports commission’s history and actually grew to 55,000 hotel room nights and $30M in visitor spending because of Columbus’ proxmity as a drive destination for families. This was the culmination of the relationship with OVR and sports commission executive director Linda Logan over 20 years and because of the success of the partnership in 2012, USA Volleyball has asked Columbus to bid on hosting the 2015 Boys’ Junior National Championships and their 2015 Adult Open.” - Bob Price, Ohio Valley RegionCommissioner of USA Volleyball

“We’re extremely thankful to Columbus for providing such a terrific competition experience for an event of such importance to us. The collaboration between the Columbus Sports Commission, Columbus Weightlifting Club and the Arnold Sports Festival created a strong synergy and our U.S. Olympic Trials definitely benefited from increased interest from event attendees. We look forward to working again on future events.” - USA Weightlifting Chairman of the Board Artie Dreschler

“The 2008 USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships was an unqualified success. The Greater Columbus Sports Commission proved to be an outstanding event partner. Our athletes, coaches, officials and administrators were provided the highest level of service and courtesy. The competition ran flawlessly. The fans were treated to a great competition and spectacle and the Jesse Owens Stadium solidified its reputation as one of the finest track & field facilities in the nation. USA Track & Field would look forward to returning to Columbus for future championship events.” - Brian Brase, USA Track & Field (USATF) Director of Events & Broadcasting

“From our perspective, and that of the United States Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Trials for Synchronized Swimming was an unparalleled success. We could not have had a better partner.” - Terry D. Harper, United States Synchronized Swimming Executive Director

“The US Figure Skating’s Governing Council Annual Meeting was a tremendous success.  The presence of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission throughout the entire planning process played an important role in the execution of our event.” -Jennifer Wozniak, United States Figure Skating Assistant Director

“I would like to thank the Greater Columbus Sports Commission for their hard work, dedication and tremendous commitment to the sport of fencing during the North American Cup Tournament.” - Christine Strong Simmons, United States Fencing Association Director of National Events

“With the overarching support of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, the 2010 NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series was an overwhelming success for our league, the LGBT community, and the thousands of players and fans, many who were visiting Columbus for the first time.  There was such a positive impression of the city along the lines of ‘We had no idea what a great city Columbus is’, that our goal of having the series return to Columbus is highly likely.  The event generated positive national media exposure for Columbus and was a financial success with over five million dollars in visiting spending and raised over $10K for charity. We’re extremely thankful to GCSC for their support in impacting Columbus!” - Dallas Aldridge, Co-Executive Director, 2010 NAGAA Softball World Series

“When we first made contact with the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, we were surprised and flattered that their team could devote time and resources to our Spring Fling Rhythmic Gymnastics Invitational, in that they partner with and provide support for professional large scale sporting events.  The GCSC helped to make our small event bigger and better than ever. The group’s knowledge of public relations and planning should be leveraged by sports event planners throughout the area.” - Taub T Swartz, President Integrity Rhythmic Gymnastics Booster Club

“In May of 2010 the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association held our best board meeting ever at the Greater Columbus Sports Commission racing day at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  Nearly all of our 25 member Board of Trustees participated in the morning training and then racing at Mid-Ohio.  In the afternoon we held our board meeting in the race tower.  The excitement of racing helped our board members bond, the race tower was a great place for our board meeting, and the memories from the entire day are unforgettable.” - Matthew L. MacLaren, Esq., Executive Director, Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association

“I am writing at the behest of the Board of Trustees of Dine Originals Columbus (local organizing body of non-chain restaurants in Columbus) to thank you for the extraordinary boost to August sales our members realized as a result of having the NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series in Columbus this year.  We salute your ability to attract this well produced event and cross our fingers that the organization, with its talented athletes and devoted fans, will be back soon.” - Katharine Moore, Executive Director of Dine Originals Columbus