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Savannah Sports Council: Celebrating 20 years of success

The Savannah Sports Council, a division of Visit Savannah and the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

The Sports Council not only owns and operates several marquee sporting events such as the Savannah Tire Hockey Classic and Enmark Savannah River Bridge Run but also sells the Savannah market as a sports tourism destination on a daily basis.

Over the past 20 years, the sports council’s goal has been to develop sports-related events with local, regional and national organizations. This has been accomplished by providing a wide range of events that offer diverse opportunities to athletes of all ages and sports preferences.

Year after year, the sports council has grown its impact, leading to a record number of 44,541 hotel room nights sold in 2012, which included events such as the Rock ’n’ Roll Savannah Marathon , YMCA Gymnastics National Championship and EVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour.

Creating a new brand

For its 20th anniversary, the sports council recently rebranded its identity with a new logo and website. The logo has been updated to have the sports council’s initials, SSC, form the lines on a circle that resembles a tennis ball. The word Savannah also was increased in size to make the destination more of a selling point when marketing the city to event planners around the country.

The group also launched its new website, SavannahSportsCouncil.com. The site will be used as a key marketing tool regionally and nationally to show what our destination has to offer and as an important way to communicate locally about upcoming events.

The site highlights the history of the sports council, features a detailed sports facilities section, displays an expanded calendar of events and showcases local universities and sports teams. The goal of the website is to position Savannah as a world-class sports event destination.

Celebrating 20 years

This month, the Savannah Sports Council will celebrate its 20th anniversary, as well as local athletes and sports organizations, by hosting the Georgia Power Golf Classic & Sports Awards Luncheon.

The golf classic will take place on Sept. 23 at The Savannah Golf Club, followed by the Sports Awards Luncheon on Sept. 26. The Sports Awards Luncheon will feature the John F. Hodges OASIS Awards, Sports Event of the Year, Award of Excellence and Generations Award(s). To attend either of these events, contact Jonathan Sykes at 912-644-6452 or JSykes@VisitSavannah.com.

For the first time since its inception, the sports council has expanded its staff to include a new position. Jonathan Sykes, a recent Georgia Southern graduate and former sports council intern, was hired as sports event coordinator.

This position enhances the services the sports council offers to sports planners and sporting events and helps maximize sponsorships and production of events during the planning stages. The sports council is thankful to all of its community partners, corporate sponsors and volunteers, without whom our success would not be possible and looks forward to continually growing the sports tourism market in Savannah for many years to come.

Benjamin Wilder is the director of the Savannah Sports Council. Contact him at 912-644-6414 or BWilder@VisitSavannah.com.

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