This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission (Sports Commission) but it’s not the only milestone we are recognizing in 2017! Linda Shetina Logan, executive director and our fearless leader, is celebrating her 20th (!) anniversary with Experience Columbus and the Sports Commission.
As the Sports Commission transforms into one of the world’s best sports destinations, Linda continues to be a driving force alongside our partners, board of directors, City of Columbus, Franklin County and the State of Ohio.
As we toast to Linda’s anniversary, we recapped some of the biggest milestones for #sportsincbus. Cheers to 20 more years and countless events along the way.
- Volleyball Capital of the Midwest
Columbus has transformed into “The Volleyball Capital of the Midwest” but it hasn’t always been that way! Linda has been a part of making volleyball a premier sport in Columbus since 1998, when the Greater Columbus Convention Center was being built. During that time, Linda worked with the Greater Columbus Convention Center and the Ohio Valley Region (OVR) to ensure that Columbus was equipped to host the magnitude of events the sport brought to Columbus under one roof.
Fast-forward almost 20 years later and the impact of that decision is indisputable. The Greater Columbus Convention Center hosts volleyball events annually, including both boys and girls OVR tournaments and the Junior Volleyball Association’s SummerFest. USA Volleyball, the National Governing Body of the Ohio Valley Region, had selected Columbus and the Greater Columbus Convention Center for the 2012 Girls’ Junior National Championships and both the 2015 and 2017 Boys’ Junior National Championships. In total, the three events brought in over $53 million in direct visitor spending for Columbus.
Due to these accomplishments, the NCAA chose The Ohio State University and the Sports Commission to host the 2016 NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship and American Volleyball Coaches Association Annual Convention. And to think, these events were brought to Columbus thanks to Linda’s efforts in 1998.
- NCAA Women’s Final Four
Next year, Columbus will host the NCAA Women’s Final Four, but you knew that already, right?! But did you also know that Columbus bid on the Women’s Final Four back in 2008 prior to winning the 2014 bid? Linda, the Sports Commission and partners first made the decision to bid on the event almost a decade ago and although the city didn’t win the bid in 2008, it provided Columbus valuable insights and rallied community partners to bid on the event, ultimately landing Columbus the event.
Now with over 40,000 people expected to attend, the 2018 Women's Final Four will bring in over $20 million in direct visitor spending to Columbus and feature numerous free community events and volunteer opportunities, as well as the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Convention hosted at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
- Professional Sports Scene
When we talk about #sportsincbus, we can't forget our local professional sports teams who have seen growth, success and have hosted numerous special events over the past 20 years!
The Columbus Crew SC has been the host of numerous USA Soccer matches, most notably the legendary “Dos A Cero” games between Team USA and Mexico. MAPFRE (formerly Crew) Stadium also hosted matches for the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup and both the 2001 and 2015 MLS Cup.
Since their inception in 2000, the Columbus Blue Jackets have been building their team from newcomers to playoff contenders. The team hosted both the NHL Entry Draft in 2007 and the 2015 NHL All-Star Game. The Blue Jackets and the city earned praise from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman who said, “A+ is not a high enough grade for Columbus.”
And of course, the Columbus Clippers, who not only moved into their beautiful, award-winning Huntington Park in 2009 and have won multiple National Championships, but will also host both the 2018 Minor League Baseball All-Star Game and 2018 National Championships!
- High School Sports
Over the past 20 years, Linda and the Sports Commission have partnered with the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) to bring 20 State Championships to Columbus, which places the city as one of the top destinations to host such events in the country! From the State Baseball Championships hosted at Huntington Park to Boys and Girls Track and Field State Championship at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, OHSAA calls Columbus home for their State Championships year-round.
Most notably, Columbus hosted the 2014-2016 OHSAA Football State Championships at Ohio Stadium, drawing in over 60,000 fans each year to the event. Before Columbus hosted in 2014, it had been 25 years since the Championship had been in the city.
Whew! It’s been quite the 20 years of #sportsincbus and we look forward to sharing more memories with you as Linda and the Sports Commission continue to rally Columbus to compete and win sporting events, providing a singular athlete and fan experience and positively impacting our image, economy and lifestyle.
Tell us: what sporting event would you like to see here in the future?