A five-time Sports Events & Tourism Association (SportsETA) national award-winner since 2016, RACVB has built the Rockford region as a sports destination by driving tourism economic impact, brand awareness, industry acclaim, and local impact through the sports tourism segment. During 2019, RACVB experienced another banner year as its sales team booked and/or serviced 127 events that yielded $53,363,430 in visitor-generated economic impact for Winnebago County. Beyond sales and servicing management and execution of competitive national bid processes and operations efforts, the Bureau also leveraged comprehensive sports marketing and public relations programs that yielded 10,556 media clips, $6,814,924 in average ad value, 858,492,516 impressions tied to RACVB's sports tourism outreach, and four premier locally produced events in 2019.
Rockford has been a pioneering sports town since the mid-1980s, when it opened its first of many multi-purpose sports complexes. Decade after decade, we’ve set the standard for hosting sports tournaments with our unparalleled venues, accessibility and drive market, and the tourism and hospitality professionals that proudly call the region home. Thanks to its marketing and sales results and industry leadership, the Rockford Area CVB has garnered five national awards for its industry work since 2016, created a growing variety of locally-produced events and driven millions in economic impact to the region from booked and hosted sports tourism events.
Our facilities portfolio includes the state-of-the-art UW Health Sports Factory (UWHSF) designed for championship caliber basketball, volleyball and much more with its 105,000 square feet of competition space. The Sports Factory, as its known by residents and visitors, is located just across the Rock River--a national events venue in its own right--from the 160-room Embassy Suites by Hilton Rockford Riverfront that opened in 2020 and the 7,500-seat BMO Center.
Head across town to Loves Park where you'll find Mercyhealth Sportscore Two, which features 26 outdoor fields--including six with turf and lights for night games. The venue also comes equipped with the 2,500-seat Wedgbury Stadium and the 200,000+ square foot Indoor Sports Center. The complex remains a regular site of national soccer, baseball, softball, Ultimate, rugby, football, lacrosse and wrestling events. Need more fields of play? Mercyhealth Sportscore One, the facility that opened in the mid-1980s to jumpstart the region's entry in sports tourism, offers 17 natural grass soccer fields and eight baseball/softball diamonds in northwest Rockford.
Need more world-class sports venues? Check out the one-of-a-kind West Rock Wake Park and take a ride around the cables at historic Levings Park. Additional unique venues in the Rockford region include the wide-body Rock River for rowing, skiing and other water sports and region-wide high school field houses, including the Auburn High School's field house that features full indoor track and field capabilities that allows it to host national meets.
The RACVB Grant Program is designed to assist host organizations in attracting events or group sports events which will generate significant out-of-area economic impact for the Rockford region.
Click here to download the application.