When You Think Spokane, City Wants You To Think Sports

Feb 9, 2012

SPOKANE, Wash. - The best amateur women boxers from around the country will participate in a historic event next week : team trials for the first-ever Olympic women's boxing competition. The location for the event is Spokane. As Jessica Robinson reports, the city has worked to brand itself as a sports destination.

If you've noticed a number of events popping up in Spokane – NCAA basketball, figure skating, USA volleyball – that's no accident.

It's the work of a group called the Spokane Regional Sports Commission. The organization gets hotel tax dollars to promote the city to sports governing bodies, like USA Boxing. The idea is to bring in games, bouts, matches, and the thousands of athletes and spectators who come with them.

Sports Commission executive director Eric Sawyer says one of the things that attracts organizers to a smaller city like Spokane is its size.

Sawyer: “If they go to the major markets, and they have in the past, they tend to be swallowed up by all the other activities of sports. Especially if it's a major sports community, like a Seattle, where you've got the Seahawks or the Mariners.”

Sawyer says Spokane eventually beat Mobile, Ala., in the marketing bout for the women's boxing trials. The 24 Olympic hopefuls face off at the 1,200-seat Pend Oreille Pavilion at Northern Quest Resort and Casino.

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