Our Mission

Sports Illinois is a niche committee of the Illinois Council of Convention & Visitor Bureaus and works closely with the Illinois Office of Tourism, focusing on promoting overnight sports events through direct marketing, education programs and networking activities, therefore creating a significant economic impact and enhancing opportunities for all in sports.

“Sports Illinois connotes a trusted, valued and professional partner in the presentation of NCAA championships. From wonderful people to quality facilities, the team at Sports Illinois works tirelessly to ensure each event is successfully executed in a way that leaves participants and fans with engaging experiences and fond memories.”
— Jeff Jarnecke, Director of Championships & Alliances, NCAA

about us

Illinois’ sports tourism track record, its world-class facilities and an unparalleled drive market with global accessibility have laid the foundation for Sports Illinois to establish itself as an industry expert and thought leader in the travel and tourism industry. Throughout the state, Illinois offers a world-class experience from the moment your spectators arrive and long after your teams step off the field. Choose from more than 1,200 sporting venues, home to everything from PGA tournaments to Olympic Trials to smaller, more intimate events. Furthermore, the state’s central location and diverse transportation infrastructure means it’s easy to get to the Land of Lincoln from anywhere in the country.

Along with the Illinois Office of Tourism, Sports Illinois is comprised of a consortium of Convention and Visitors Bureaus throughout the state that work together to provide resources and support event planners in their efforts to bring sporting events to the state. The legendary ballparks and stadiums of Chicago help make it an iconic global city with world-class attractions, impressive cultural offerings and a storied sports heritage at both the professional and amateur level. However, Chicago is just one of a many offerings that make Illinois the perfect location for your next sporting event. Illinois is home to a variety of state-of-the-art facilities across the state and is committed to giving sports organizations the perfect event that will accommodate all of their constituents, while supporting the local economies of the state.

The State of Illinois has supported sport-related initiatives including sponsorships, marketing/promotion, educational programming, partnered sales missions and more. One such example is the Sports Illinois Huddle. First held in 2009, this annual conference provides education, networking and business opportunities over three-days to Convention and Visitor Bureaus throughout the state as well as interested event rights holders and national governing bodies. Additionally, the Huddle offers opportunities to experience Illinois’ iconic professional sports venues. Past visits have been to Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, Soldier Field and Chicagoland Speedway. Also included are opportunities to meet iconic professional sports athletes such as Hall of Fame Chicago Bear Dan Hampton, Hall of Fame NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett and Hall of Fame Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas, who attended past conferences. On the amateur side, opportunities exist prior to the conference for local site visits.