By Brain Hoffman
The City of Salem has received over $25,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s American Rescue Plan Act Sports Marketing Incentive Program. The grant funds will be used for the 2023 Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl and the 2022 CIAA Volleyball Championship.
The Stagg Bowl, which will return to Salem in December 2023 for the event’s 50th championship, was awarded $20,150 while the CIAA Women’s Volleyball Championship was given $5,500. The volleyball event will be held in the Salem Civic Center this November on the same weekend the CIAA football title game is played at adjoining Salem Stadium. Grant funds will be used to offset rental costs, enhance marketing, and secure staffing for the two events.
“It is only appropriate that the Stagg Bowl returns home for this golden anniversary game,” says Carey Harveycutter, Salem’s Tourism Director. “We showcased players, coaches and some outstanding colleges and universities for 25 years, so we are pleased to have the game back at Salem Stadium.”
In total, VTC awarded $1.45 million for 83 local and regional event incentives specifically targeted at attracting new meetings and competitive sporting events to spur economic activity and travel across the Commonwealth. These funds are a part of the $50 million ARPA appropriation during the August 2021 Special General Assembly Session to assist in the revitalization of Virginia’s tourism industry to overcome the negative impact of COVID-19.
“Sports events and meetings are vital to the tourism industry,” said Rita McClenny, President and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “This appropriation is an opportunity to assist these organizations with its continued recovery efforts and help drive increased visitation and revenue generation.”
The tourism and hospitality industries were among the hardest-hit by the pandemic, experiencing decreased revenue and job loss, along with the temporary closure of many tourism-related businesses. A revived tourism economy can help spur new economic activity and inject critical funds back into Virginia communities like the City of Salem.
“We appreciate the funding and the opportunity to enhance the championship experience for the CIAA athletes and fans who will be traveling to Salem this November,” says Harveycutter.
Salem has received a total of five grants from the Virginia Tourism Corporation since 2020 totaling $65,000.