Columbus Selects Sports Tourism Dirctor

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The Columbus Area Visitors Center has named Eric Marvin director of sports tourism. He previously served as executive director of a regional sports commission in Virginia and will succeed Jim Dietz, who has been in the position since 2008. September 9, 2014

News Release

COLUMBUS, Ind. - The Columbus Area Visitors Center has hired Eric Marvin as its director of sports tourism replacing Jim Dietz, who is retiring. Marvin will be charged with continuing to grow sports tourism in Bartholomew County.

Growth in sporting events has skyrocketed over the last decade. When the Visitors Center began its sports initiative in 2004, Columbus and Bartholomew County hosted 21 sports events. By the end of this year, that number will have tripled to 96. Marvin will take the reins from Jim Dietz, who became the second director of sports tourism in 2008. Dietz will continue to work part-time through December 2014 on a consulting basis with the Visitors Center to help ensure a smooth transition.

Marvin returns to his home state from Norfolk, Va., where he had been executive director of Hampton Road Sports Commission. Before promoting sports in Virginia, he was executive director of Lawrence County (Indiana) Tourism and spent five years as director of sports development for Hoosier Sports Corporation - Visit Bloomington.

"Eric brings a wealth of experience and sports marketing contacts, as well as knowledge of the tourism industry, to Columbus," said Lynn Lucas, executive director of Columbus Area Visitors Center. "We're already one of the top cities in Indiana for sports tourism, and we believe there is capacity for more growth."

Sports tourism has become a huge economic driver for the area. By the end of 2014, the Columbus Area Visitors Center estimates that athletes and spectators will have spent $14 million in Columbus and Bartholomew County. Some significant sports events in 2014 include the American Junior Golf Association, the Mill Race Marathon, the State Cup Soccer Preliminaries and the Independent Sports Association (ISA) Senior World Slow Pitch.

Marvin, who has a sport marking and management degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, has extensive experience attracting and managing sports tournaments and events. He has been event director of several youth sports national championships and AAU Junior Olympic Games and has been in charge of lodging and hospitality for events such as the Big Ten Men's Swimming & Diving Champions and local chairman of the Can-Am Police and Fire Games.

Source: The Columbus Area Visitors Center