COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 20, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Testifying in the Ohio Statehouse today, an historic collection of sports leaders from across Ohio urged legislators to approve House Bill 531, legislation that would create a permanent new Sports Event Grant Fund.
Co-sponsored by Representatives Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) and Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake), House Bill 531 would enhance the ability of local governments and non-profits to attract and host major national and international sporting events. The bill was drafted in response to a request from the Greater Columbus and Cleveland Sports Commissions, which are advocating for a more reliable funding source to help attract major sporting events to Ohio.
"This legislation is about more than sports, it is about bringing economic activity to our State and making us more competitive with other states for these drivers of activity. We are creating a program that is self-sustaining. It's a win win," said Representative Dave Greenspan.
The bill would change the manner in which Ohio's existing sports grant program is funded, creating a new permanent Sports Event Grant Fund. Currently, sports event grants are funded through appropriations by the Ohio General Assembly, limiting the ability to bid on sporting events outside of the current budget biennium. Under House Bill 531, a sports event's projected excess state sales tax receipts would be diverted to the new Sports Event Grant Fund by the State Tax Commissioner at the request of the Director of Development Services.
Instead of one-off appropriations from the General Assembly, the Sports Event Grant Fund will create a permanent and reliable ongoing source of funds to pay for sports event expenses such as marketing, security and logistics. House Bill 531 will help Ohio compete on a more level playing field for hosting such events.
David Gilbert, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, said, "Securing the rights to host major sporting events – NCAA Championships, Olympic sport Championships, All-Star Games and the like – is a highly and increasingly competitive process. More than 30 states offer support to help secure and offset expenses for these events, and not having a program like this puts Ohio cities at a competitive disadvantage."
Linda Logan, Executive Director of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, said, "It is important for us to be aggressive when bidding on marquee sporting events for Ohio. Competition is fierce, so we must continue to find advantages that set our destinations apart. The proposed state funding does that while also providing a great return on investment back to Ohio."
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SOURCE Greater Columbus and Cleveland Sports Commissions