With the support of the San Diego Tourism Authority and Tourism Marketing District, SDCCU Holiday Bowl officials have announced the formation of Sports San Diego to serve as the primary organization responsible for marketing San Diego as a sports destination and driving visitor demand through recruiting, supporting and hosting world-class events.
Sports San Diego is strategically aligned under the nonprofit San Diego Bowl Game Association, organizers of the Holiday Bowl, one of the region’s longest-standing annual tourism-driving sports events.
“We could not be more excited for this opportunity,” said San Diego Bowl Game Association Chief Executive Officer Mark Neville. “When I started with the Holiday Bowl in 1991, it was under the Greater San Diego Sports Association umbrella so this opportunity is really coming full circle for us as an organization. A few years ago, we took a strategic look at how we can do more for the community and that resulted in growing our scope to host more events. We brought in the Navy vs. Notre Dame football game to town in 2018, and in 2020 we successfully bid on the 2022 Transplant Games of America. Being the primary organization for marketing San Diego as a sports destination is a natural for us.”
Nathan Kopp will be the director of Sports San Diego with Kirstin Olsen named senior manager, sports development and services.
“Sports are a critical component of our local tourism industry, attracting more visitors while cementing San Diego’s reputation for health and wellness,” San Diego Tourism Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Julie Coker said. “The creation of Sports San Diego will help us up our game as work together to grow this market.”
Several San Diego companies have become founding partners of the organization including Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., Kaiser Permanente, General Dynamics NASSCO and Rady Children’s Hospital. Sports events have been a pillar of the tourism industry in San Diego dating to the 1960s. San Diego has been successful in hosting some of the largest events in the world including the Super Bowl, XGames, MLB All-Star Game, U.S. Open golf, Breeders’ Cup and more.
“The launch of Sports San Diego is the definition of big city energy,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said. “San Diego is always ready to show the world what we have to offer: unbeatable weather, world-class entertainment venues, an incredible hospitality industry and unparalleled quality of life. I’m excited for Sports San Diego to bring more world-class sporting events to San Diego and boost our regional economy.”