Cities Can Now Win More State Money To Host Big Sports Events

Carlo Wolff and Fumio Yoshikawa face off in a tennis table match at the National Senior Games in Cleveland in 2013.
Carlo Wolff and Fumio Yoshikawa face off in a tennis table match at the National Senior Games in Cleveland in 2013. [David C. Barnett / ideastream]
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Whether it’s an All-Star Game, a Final Four tournament or a pro-sports draft, hosting big events costs local organizers money. A bill signed by Gov. John Kasich this month will give cities, counties and local host committees more help hosting such events.

The bill expands the state’s program for reimbursing communities based on the sales tax revenue the events generate. Local organizers in Cleveland used the program to host the 2013 National Senior Games and 2016 Transplant Games of America, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency.

Now, more events will be eligible—like the future NFL draft that Cleveland hopes to win someday. Organizers can receive up to $2 million, an increase over the previous maximum of $500,000.

The state will keep that money in a special fund, allowing for longer-term planning outside of the two-year budget cycle. David Gilbert, president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, supported the measure.

“Oftentimes, we are bidding these out many years in advance, sometimes five, six, seven years in advance,” Gilbert said. “So having more certainty that that funding would be available when the time comes to pay for the event was very important.”

The legislation also allows Canton to recoup some costs from the NFL centennial celebration planned for 2020.

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