While meetings and conventions remain sidelined until this fall, sporting events and tournaments continue to lead the recovery effort of Rhode Island’s meetings and events industry. Since the state reopened for sporting events in April, business booked by the Rhode Island Sports Commission (RISC) has generated an estimated $8 million in direct spend through July with another $5 million expected through the rest of 2021.

“We’ve got a robust lineup of events through the remainder of the year after starting off strong as soon as the state opened up for sports-related travel this spring,” said John Gibbons, RISC executive director. “This year’s business is expected to bring in nearly 50,000 visitors, occupy more than 20,000 hotel room nights, and generate upwards of $13 million in direct spending.”

“Sporting events booked throughout Rhode Island will be a large part of the hotel industry’s recovery, particularly in the lean winter months,” said Kristen Adamo, Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau president and CEO. “In the Providence area, sporting events this spring and summer are helping to boost occupancy, as we wait for meetings and conventions to return in the fall.”

Some of the major events to take place throughout the state include Ocean State Lobsterfest, a three-week ice hockey tournament in June generating an estimated $3.5 million in direct spend; Firecracker Sports 4th of July Showcase, a weekend baseball showcase event that brought in an estimated $1 million in direct spend; and the CCM Summer Invite, a weekend ice hockey showcase event scheduled for August expected to generate $1.7 million in direct spend. These three events are also responsible for attracting more than 25,000 visitors and utilizing more than 10,000 hotel room nights.

In September, the 87th annual Armenian Youth Federation-Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Olympic Games will mark the first sporting event to be held at the Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC) since the pandemic shutdown in March 2020. The RICC will also be used for gymnastics and volleyball events in December.