The National Collegiate Athletic Association will bring two national championships to Mason, the Warren County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau announced Wednesday.
The tourism board will host the NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championships in 2014 and the NCAA Division III Tennis National Championships in 2015.
The bureau is the only organization in southwest Ohio to be selected as a host, said Phillip Smith, president and chief executive officer of the tourism bureau.
“Anything like this is highly competitive. We’re thrilled to have received these two,” he said.
Bidding for 82 of 89 NCAA championships began in July with almost 2,000 bid applications submitted.
Sports committees in each division selected host sites that would provide the best experience for its programs, said Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances.
“The process was extremely thorough and allowed the sport committees to have some tremendous options, which will ultimately provide our student-athletes, coaches and fans the best experience possible,” he said.
The cross country championships will be held next fall at the Golf Center at Kings Island. The tennis championships are set for the spring of 2015 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.
Wilmington College is a partnering school for both events. Ohio Northern University is a partner for the tennis championships.
The news comes on the heels of a series of high-profile sporting events announced this year in Warren County.
In April, The Beach Waterpark in Mason signed a three-year contract with the National Volleyball League to host its Midwest Championships and Junior Festival.
For the first time since 2009, the Association of Volleyball Professionals made a stop at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason over Labor Day weekend.
And last month, Ultimate Frisbee announced it will host the 2014 Division I Ultimate Frisbee College Championships May 23-26 at Mason’s Heritage Oak Park.
Sports tourism in Warren County — branded “Ohio’s Largest Playground” — generates about $35 million in economic impact, said Smith. The spending includes an estimated 53,000 hotel room nights.
The county’s selection as a host site for the NCAA championships caps off a record year for the board’s sports marketing division, he said.
“It says that on a national scale and level, we’re looked upon as a great place to have these kinds of events,” said Smith. “We look forward to leveraging our world-class facilities to make Mason a championship city and to featuring Warren County on a national stage.”
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