Fencing championships could bring 7,500 families here for 10-day stays
By Vanessa Krause
The Miami-Dade County Sports Commission has tentative approval to host the 2007 US Fencing Association national championships, which could bring 7,500 fencers and their families to Miami Beach for about 10 days.
"Our role is to generate economic impact for the community through sports, primarily amateur sports," said Mike Sophia, commission executive director. The county commission created the sports commission in 2003.
Mr. Sophia said he expects to have contracts for the event in the upcoming weeks.
"We bid on it, and we've been tentatively awarded the bid," he said. "I don't foresee any major obstacles. We had a pretty good bid, ideal facility, we have plenty of hotel rooms and a variety of different levels of service."
Based on facility requirements, Mr. Sophia said, the Miami Beach Convention Center is the only place that could hold the event.
"It would occupy two halls in the center, because they need massive amounts of square footage for 50 fencing strips," he said. Hotel accommodations would potentially be in Miami Beach, Downtown Miami and the Miami International Airport area.
Generally, three key elements are considered in bids, Mr. Sophia said: the financial package, including financing put into the event, venue and rental costs; whether the venue is suitable and exceeds expectations; and the hotels' rates and proximity to the venue.
"We have a very strong fencing club here, and this [Miami] is a very popular destination," Mr. Sophia said.
Local workers and volunteers would be needed for manual labor. The fencing association would bring people to run and administer the event.
This year's national championship, July 1-10, is in Sacramento, CA. Mike Testa, Sacramento Visitors & Convention Bureau spokesman, said he plans for about 4,000 people to attend, occupying about 700 hotels rooms, with an economic impact of $1.4 million.