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.
Day 1 - Tuesday, April 16
Tailgate begins at Illinois Field
Illini vs. Bradley Baseball Game
8:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Day 2 - Wednesday, April 17
7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
Breakfast at Hyatt
8:15 - 8:45 a.m.
NCAA Bid Process discussion with speaker
8:45 - 9:30 a.m.
10:00- 11:00 a.m.
Golf facility tour and meet and greet with Coach Small
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch at 77 Club at Memorial Stadium/University of IL and Sports Huddle Host Impact Grant announcement and panel & speaker (TBA)
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Colonnades Club and Football facility tour
2:30 - 3:00 p.m.
Walking tour of Activities and Recreation Center at the University of IL
3:30 - 4:00 p.m.
Tour of Disability Resource & Education Services Center at the University of IL
4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Rest and Relax
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Dinner at Riggs Brewing
8:15 - 10:00 p.m.
Day 3 - Thursday, April 18
8:00 - 8:45 a.m.
Breakfast at Hyatt
9:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
One-on-One Appointments at the 77 Club at Memorial Stadium/University of IL
Lunch or grab and go at Hyatt
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.
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
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
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
AAU Beach Volleyball
Amateur Athletic Union
Amateur Softball Association
American Junior Golf Association
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
KRICK Log Rolling
Legacy Global Sports
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
Prairie State Cycling Series
Premier Baseball/Softball Events
Premier Sports/USSSA Baseball
Professional Disc Golf Association
Race Director University, Inc.
Small Town Baseball
Special Olympics Illinois
Stars of Tomorrow Basketball
United Darts Alliance
US Youth Bowling – Illinois
USA Sports Production
USA Track & Field – Illinois
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.