Dennis Bickmeier, who had been president at Richmond Raceway in Virginia since 2011, has been appointed to lead a new authority that will oversee Henrico County’s sports tourism program and manage its private-public facilities, including an indoor events center under construction at Virginia Center Commons.
“Dennis Bickmeier is the absolute best person to lead the new Henrico County Sports and Entertainment Authority,” County Manager John Vithoulkas said. “He knows Henrico and understands how sporting events, concerts and other entertainment can not only attract visitors and fuel our local economy but also raise the quality of life for our residents and communities. I have worked closely with Dennis throughout his tenure at Richmond Raceway and have seen him apply his leadership and expertise to strengthen community relationships and transform the facility into a more vibrant, modern and versatile sports and events complex.”
Bickmeier previously held positions with Michigan International Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Big West Conference and several major league sports teams. In Richmond, Bickmeier oversaw the 1,100-acre motorsports and multipurpose entertainment complex that hosts two NASCAR race weekends and more than 200 concerts, trade and consumer shows and other events per year. In 2018, the raceway completed $30 million in infield improvements, including a new safety building, garage and media center. Bickmeier also worked closely with Henrico County throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with Richmond Raceway having served as a site for mass vaccinations and testing.
Construction is underway on Henrico’s 180,000-square-foot indoor sports and convocation center at Virginia Center Commons. Expected to open by September 2023, the facility will accommodate basketball and volleyball tournaments to a sports tourism program that has jumped in estimated economic impact from $33.2 million in 2013 to $66.2 million in 2019. With indoor events limited due to COVID-19, the county hosted 160 tournaments that generated $59.1 million in economic impact in 2021.