ORLANDO, Florida (November 18, 2016) – The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), in conjunction with ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Visit Orlando, was honored by Sports Destination Management as a recipient of the 2016 Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism award for the impact generated by the 43rd AAU Girls’ Junior Volleyball National Championship.
Given out since 2015 to various market sizes across the country, Sports Destination Management selected the AAU Girls’ Junior National Volleyball Championships as the 2016 award-winner due to its overwhelming impact to the Central Florida community.
“The AAU strives to provide the best possible experience for athletes, coaches and spectators,” said Dr. Roger J. Goudy, AAU President / CEO. “More than that, though, we aim to make a positive impact on the many communities around the country that host AAU events each year. We are so pleased with the relationships we have here in Orlando, as the people in this community are the reason our teams and families go home every year with a smile on their face.”
More than doubling in size over the last five years, the AAU Girls’ Junior National Volleyball has an estimated economic impact greater than $52 million per year to the Orlando-area with more than 35,000 participants and their families visiting local hotels, shops, restaurants and other Central Florida businesses. Prior to the 2016 event, Visit Orlando and AAU signed an agreement that will keep the Union’s marquee volleyball event in Orlando through at least 2020.
The eight-day event has held the title of largest volleyball event in the world since 2012 when the 16U Club division set the current Guinness Book of World Records mark. It attracts more than 50,000 spectators, 9,000 coaches and 400 college coaches and takes place on 177 courts between ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Orange County Convention Center.
New to the event this year, participants were invited to help pack 40,000 meals for underprivileged Central Florida youth under the auspices of a new AAU Cares initiative Dr. Goudy launched when he was elected the 46th president of the AAU in 2015.
“I strongly believe we should do more in athletics that just provide events,” Goudy said. “We’re trying to do some positive things in addition to being a great sports provider because it’s important to our student-athletes. I want us to provide a great athletic experience while also provide life lessons in social responsibility.”
The athletic experience at the AAU Girls’ Junior National Volleyball Championships is unrivaled. Select championship games aired live on WatchESPN and the WatchESPN application from ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which has become the worldwide leader in ESPN3 content production. Athletes also had an opportunity to attend two private Water Park Parties at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and participate in an opening ceremony hosted by the world-class Disney Entertainment.
Visit www.aauvolleyball.org to find out how to get involved with the 44th annual event in June 2017.
ABOUT THE AAU:
Founded in 1888, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, event organizations in the United States. The “Sports for All, Forever” philosophy is shared by over 700,000 participants and 150,000 volunteers. The AAU annually licenses 35 sports programs and more than 375,000 licensed events each year. AAU alumni include LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers), Dwyane Wade (Chicago Bulls), Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco Giants), Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs) and Diana Taurasi (Los Angeles Sparks). A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the development of amateur sports. Visit www.aausports.org for more information.