SportsTravel announced the winners of the 2023 SportsTravel Awards during the TEAMS ’23 Conference & Expo in The Palm Beaches of Florida, honoring the best events, venue and host city in the sports-event industry.
TEAMS: Travel, Events And Management in Sports, is the world’s largest gathering of event organizers and travel planners from the sports industry. TEAMS ’23 was held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. The National Congress of State Games also announced the winners of its Athlete of the Year awards during the awards ceremony. And the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Compete Sports Diversity recognized individuals and organizations for their diversity efforts.
The 2023 SportsTravel Award winners are:
- 2023 USRowing Youth National Championships in Sarasota, Florida, for Best Amateur Event. The largest regatta to date in USRowing history welcomed over 4,000 athletes, 1,000 coaches and 225 clubs spanning across the country with a record-breaking 5,000 spectators in attendance.
- 2023 NCAA Tournament Women’s Final Four in Dallas, Texas, for Best Collegiate Event. With over 18.9 million broadcast views, the 2023 NCAA Women’s Final Four was the most-watched women’s college sporting event in history. The championship had an economic impact of over $40.3 million as LSU beat Iowa in the championship game, two days after Iowa’s historic upset of unbeaten South Carolina.
- 2023 Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville, Tennessee, for Best Professional Event. The “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing” pitted 55 of the world’s best bass anglers for the title of Bassmaster Classic Champion. The event reached 4.5 million viewers across the two days of TV coverage and broke records for engagement on the web and social channels The largest Classic ever saw a total attendance of 163,914 throughout a weekend of events in Knoxville.
- 2023 Youth Flag Football World Championships in Orlando, Florida, for Best New Event. More than 200 teams came to ESPN Wide World of Sports with teams of players ages 4–17 from four countries and 32 states. The championship games were aired on ESPN3 and it was largest youth flag football tournament of its kind ever held, with more 10 million views on social media.
- The Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for Best New or Renovated Venue. A $47 million renovation that took five years to complete provided a new expanded, fully World Aquatics-compliant pool and a new World Aquatics-compliant diving pool and tower with platform levels at 1M, 3M, 5M, 7.5M, 10M, 20M, and 27M (only the third venue in the world with such a height). The renovation also included new spectator seating, restrooms, concessions and a ticket office, as well as site improvements.
- Salt Lake City, Utah, as Best Host City. In 2023, Salt Lake welcomed the world with the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend. In 2022, Sports Salt Lake welcomed over 60 events to the area. In 2022, the organization hosted its inaugural Sports Tourism Summit to create more buy-in from community leaders, municipalities, venues, local rights holders and hospitality partners on sports tourism, attracting close to 200 attendees.
“The SportsTravel Awards recognize the stars of the sports-event industry,” said Jason Gewirtz, vice president of the Sports Division of Northstar Travel Group, which publishes SportsTravel magazine and organizes the TEAMS Conference & Expo. “As events began to come back in 2022, we were thrilled to see hundreds of worthy events nominated for this year’s awards. The winners in each category exemplify everything that we love about the sports-event industry and underscore the resiliency and power of the sports-related travel market.”
The SportsTravel Awards are nominated and voted on by the readers of SportsTravel. Criteria for nomination and voting for the 2023 SportsTravel Awards program included events that occurred or venues that opened between August 1, 2022, and July 31, 2023.
Hosted by the Palm Beach Sports Commission and Discover The Palm Beaches, TEAMS ’23 was held October 2–5, in The Palm Beaches, Florida. For more information, please visit TEAMSconference.com.