PLOVER, WI – The Plover Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Portage County Parks Department agreed to a partnership to drive additional sports tourism efforts within the area Thursday night.

Sports tourism is defined as traveling to a destination to participate in or observe a sporting event.

PACVB Executive Director Malorie Paine asked the Parks Commission to approve a request to market Standing Rocks County Park, and others, as potential sites for sporting events like disc golf tournaments and cross country meets.

Sporting events already take place within the parks. However, the agreement allows the PACVB to actively take on external marketing efforts. The agreement does not give blanket authority to CVB staff to book events. Instead, bid submissions will be at the final discretion of the Parks Department.

The PACVB has received nearly 100 requests for proposals from various sporting event planners in the past six months, Paine said.

“Sports tourism generates nearly $40 billion in direct visitor spending annually across the US,” she told Commissioners. “Tourism has a major economic impact on our local residents, businesses and government agencies.”

In 2022, tourism alone generated a $245 million impact for Portage County.

“We know residents directly benefit from the dollars generated by overnight stays,” Paine said. “This partnership has been identified as a way that we can increase the local economy through tourism opportunities that already exist.”

The CVB’s goal is not to overwhelm residents with constant events or to exceed the capacity of local parks, Paine said. Rather, it aims to drive additional tourism dollars to the benefit of all.

“One of our core values is that we market our destination sustainably and not negatively affect the natural resources we are fortunate enough to have,” Paine told the Commission. “This does not mean we want to host a million events per year or that we want to bring in events that place a burden on residents. This approval means we’re able to actively seek out events that align with our capacity.”

The Plover Area CVB’s mission is to drive quality of life, economic growth and community preservation for the citizens of the area through tourism marketing and destination development.

“We feel the most important part of our mission statement is ‘for our citizens,’” she said.

Paine says increasing sports tourism even slightly would allow residents to benefit from enhanced trails, perhaps new or improved boat launches, new attractions and more through generated room taxes.

“We are already reaping the benefits of sports tourism, there is no viable reason that we should not be capitalizing on more of the $40 billion going to destinations across the country annually,” Paine said. “Bidding doesn’t mean we’ll win every event; it simply opens the door of opportunity.”


For additional information:

Malorie Paine

PACVB Executive Director