About us

Sports Illinois Huddle is an educational conference for Sports Illinois, a niche committee of the Illinois Council of Convention & Visitors Bureaus.  It is comprised of CVBs and Sports Commissions with designated personnel that actively attract sport tournaments and events to their region. Each year, tournament directors and events rights holders are issued invitations to take part in this two-day conference to connect with over twenty Illinois CVBs and Sports Commissions. 

This year’s Sports Illinois Huddle will feature an appointment-based trade show for sports directors and CVB representatives to discuss upcoming events and tournaments. The Huddle will also offer exciting guest speakers from the sports industry, educational sessions for attendees to learn about new trends and ideas, as well as a multitude of networking opportunities. 


2019 huddle Location

Champaign, IL

huddle dates

April 16-18, 2019


Lindsay Arellano


Day 1 - Tuesday, April 16

3:00 p.m.
Check-in/Registration open (Hyatt Place)

4:00 p.m.
Opening Event (Illinois Field)

8:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Hospitality Room opens (Guido’s Bar and Grill)

Day 2 - Wednesday, April 17

7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
Breakfast (Hyatt Place)

8:15 - 8:45 a.m.
NCAA Bid Process/ Speaker: Russ Yurk (Hyatt Place)

8:45 - 9:30 a.m.
Keynote Speaker: Jeff Lapsansky, BMW Championship (Hyatt Place)

10:00- 11:00 a.m.
Golf facility tour (Demirjian Golf Facility)

11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch (77 Club at Memorial Stadium)

11:35 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Keynote Speaker: Josh Whitman (77 Club at Memorial Stadium)

12:15 p.m.
Lunch and Award (77 Club at Memorial Stadium)

12:45 p.m.
Panel (77 Club at Memorial Stadium)

1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Colonnades Club and Football Tour (Colonnade’s Club & Memorial Stadium)

2:30 - 3:00 p.m.
Walking tour of ARC (Activities and Recreation Center (ARC))

3:00 p.m.
Pickleball Demo (Activities and Recreation Center (ARC))

3:45 - 4:15 p.m.
Tour of DRES (Disability Resources Education Services (DRES))

4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Rest and relax (Hyatt Place)

6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Dinner at Riggs Brewing (Riggs Brewing)

8:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Hospitality Room opens (Guido’s Bar and Grill)

Day 3 - Thursday, April 18

8:00 - 8:45 a.m.
Breakfast (Hyatt Place)

9:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
One-on-One Appointments (77 Club at Memorial Stadium)

12:45 p.m.
Lunch or grab and go (Hyatt Place)





Host Hotel

Hyatt Place Champaign
217 N. Neil St., Champaign, IL

If you are a Rights Holder, Sports Illinois will provide your hotel accommodations at no charge.

If you are a Sports Comission or CVB, please make your hotel arrangements directly with the hotel.


previous speakers

John Althoff – Sponsorship Coordinator, State Farm
Denise Wilmer-Barreto – Program Development, Sears
Connie Kowal – Connie Kowal Consulting
Ryan McDonough – Chicago Cubs
Bill Scherr – Director of Sport, World Sport Chicago
Dan Migala – Publisher, The Migala Report
Douglas Freeland – Director, McDonald’s All-American Games
Anne Hornyak – Senior Social Media Strategist, Sparkloft Media
Scott Paddock – President, Chicagoland Speedway
Tory Lindley – Director of Athletic Training Services, Northwestern           University
Drew Russell – Vice President of Sports Properties, Intersport
Brad Traviolia – Deputy Commissioner, Big Ten Conference
Kelly Kraft – Executive Director, Illinois Sports Facilities Authority
Kevin Coe – Manager of Youth Baseball Initiatives, Chicago White             Sox
Scott Howard – Vice President-Sales & Marketing, Chicagoland                 Speedway
Jeff Jarnecke – Director of Championships and Alliances, NCAA
Carey Pinkowski – Executive Race Director, Bank of American                   Chicago Marathon
Andrew Lehman - Assistant Tournament Director, John Deere Classic
Andrew Chesser - General Manager, Quad Cities River Bandits
Cory Jobe - Director, Illinois Office of Tourism
Mike Lopez - News Director, WHBF
Marc Nesseler - Sports Editor, Moline Dispatch/Rock Island Argus
Lia Coryell - USA Para Olympics Archery
Dr. Kat Williams - President, International Women's Baseball Center

Special Guests:
Larry Smith – Sports Anchor, CNN
Randy Hundley – former Chicago Cubs catcher
Dan Hampton – NFL Hall of Famer, Chicago Bears
Donnell Woolford – former Chicago Bears defensive back
Shaun Gayle – former Chicago Bears defensive back
Ron Kittle – 1983 MLB American League Rookie of the Year
Frank Thomas – MLB Hall of Famer, Chicago White Sox
Minnie Minoso - former Cuban Negro League and MLB player
Dale Jarrett – NASCAR Hall of Famer, ESPN Analyst
Lee Smith – former MLB pitcher
Ryne Sandburg - MLB Hall of Famer, Chicago Cubs
Mitch Holthus - Voice of the Kansas City Chiefs, ESPN Basketball
Kendall Coyne - USA Women's Hockey Gold Medalist

Previous Sites

2009: Lincolnshire Marriott - Lincolnshire, IL
2012: Renaissance Schaumburg - Schaumburg, IL
2013: Wyndham Lisle - Lisle, IL
2014: Doubletree Alsip - Alsip, IL
2017: Holiday Inn Rock Island - Rock Island, IL
2018: Radisson - Rockford, IL

2019: Hyatt Place, Champaign, IL

Previous rights holders

3 Disciplines
A.G.A. Nation
AAU Beach Volleyball
AAU Karate
Adrenaline Sports
Airsoft Republic
Amateur Athletic Union
Amateur Softball Association
American Cornhole
American Junior Golf Association
Archery Tag
Asian Basketball Championships of North America
EVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour
Fishers of Men National Tournament Trail
Game Day USA
Illinois Senior Olympics
In the Game Consulting
International Distance Skateboard Association
JP Sports
KRICK Log Rolling
Legacy Global Sports
My Hockey
National Beep Baseball Association
National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association
National Collegiate Table Tennis Association
National Junior Prospects Hockey League
National Softball Association
North American Chinese Basketball Association
NXT Sports
Prairie State Cycling Series
Premier Baseball/Softball Events
Premier Sports/USSSA Baseball
PrimeTime Sports
Professional Disc Golf Association
Race Director University, Inc.
Rugby Illinois
Small Town Baseball
Sparks Softball
Special Olympics Illinois
Stars of Tomorrow Basketball
United Darts Alliance
US Youth Bowling – Illinois
USA Sports Production
USA Track & Field – Illinois
USA Ultimate
United States Australian Football League
United States Specialty Sports Association – Illinois
Waupaca Boatride/US Open of Grass Volleyball
Wisconsin Sports Services
World Baseball & Softball Association
World Sports League
World Wake Association



Rights holders are invited to attend the 2019 Sports Illinois Huddle, April 16-18, in Champaign, IL.  The Huddle allows you to meet with several CVB representatives from throughout the State of Illinois.  The Sports Illinois Huddle is similar to the TEAMS Conference and the NASC Symposium in regards to having one-on-one appointments, industry seminars, key-note speakers, and off-site entertainment.  At the Huddle, sports tourism professionals and industry leaders will convene to share resources, strategies, and more. 

2019 Sports Illinois representation includes: Alton, Aurora, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign County, Chicago Southland, Decatur, Effingham, Galesburg, Heritage Corridor, Illinois South, Kankakee, Lake County, Meet Chicago Northwest, Peoria, Quad Cities, Rockford, Visit SI and The Illinois Office of Tourism. 

  • Registration for the Sports Illinois Huddle is free for one rights holder per organization to attend, this includes hotel room, meals, and entertainment. There is a $100 refundable deposit after full participation of the conference.

  • There is a travel stipend available for one rights holder per organization of up to $500 (reimbursed after the conference)

*Submitting an application to participate in the Illinois Sports Huddle does not guarantee or confirm your participation in the Huddle. After receiving all applications, the Illinois Sports Huddle planning committee will review applications and confirm registration based on the best interests and market fit for the Illinois communities participating in the Huddle. You will be notified via email after the committee makes final selections. If you have any questions, please email Lindsay Arellano at

Sports Illinois Huddle Host Impact Grant

The purpose of the annual Sports Illinois Huddle Host Impact Grant—launched in partnership with the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (RACVB) in 2018—is to provide the host community’s area nonprofit(s) the opportunity to access grant funding from Sports Illinois that is earmarked for positively impacting sports programs locally.

Grant Application