SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) has appointed Mike Sophia as Director of the Sacramento Sports Commission. In this new position, Sophia is responsible for fostering economic growth in the Sacramento region by securing, promoting and sustaining highly visible sporting events, tournaments, amateur & youth sports and conventions.
As the newly appointed Director of the Sacramento Sports Commission, Sophia has 20 years of management experience, most recently as the CEO of the National Senior Games. Prior to that position, he was the Executive Director of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission for the previous 10 years. In that capacity Sophia secured event business that resulted in $500 million of economic impact that included high-profile events such as the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, McDonald's High School All-America Basketball Game, USA Volleyball Junior Olympics and the FHSAA High School Football Championships. He also led South Florida's effort to bring the 2022 FIFA World Cup to the United States and developed partner programs that generated more than $2 million in private funding.
"While we had a talented pool of candidates for this position, Mike's wide-ranging experience and previous success in other markets proved impossible to overlook and we're extremely pleased to bring someone's of Mike's caliber to Sacramento," said Steve Hammond, president & CEO of the SCVB. "Mike has a tremendous background in bringing new sporting opportunities to communities while retaining existing sports business and we're excited to leverage his expertise to further grow Sacramento's reputation as a top sporting events destination."
Sophia has also held positions with the Florida Sports Foundation, Miami Gallos World Boxing Franchise, U.S. Track Coaches Association and Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Sports Sciences from the University of Florida, Gainesville.
Since taking over the management of the Sacramento Sports Commission on January 1, the sales and marketing teams at the SCVB have been actively recruiting new sports business for Sacramento and have successfully booked three major sporting events.
The SCVB & Sports Commission were recently awarded the NCAA Division 1 Men's & Women's Cross Country Western Regional Championships and, one month prior to that, will host the Sac State Pre-Regional Invitational Cross Country meet. Sacramento State will serve as the host institution for the two events that will be held at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex this fall.
The NCAA Western Regional will be held on Friday November 8 and will utilize the Arden Arcade side of the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex, running along the tree-lined fairways. The SCVB and the Sacramento Sports Commission anticipate 950 room nights for the pre-invitational and 900 room nights for the NCAA Western Regional Championship. The Western Regional Championships will be comprised of 80 teams, represented by 40 Men and 40 Women. Later this year, Sacramento will host the Sr. Softball USA Western National Championships from July 30 to August 4. This event brings an estimated 90 to 100 teams and will utilize a total of 10 regional softball fields. The event will deliver 1,600 hotel room nights to Sacramento and could quickly build into an annual event for Sacramento.
Sacramento also recently signed a five-year deal to host the Pacific Surf Lacrosse Tournament, which will be held this year on July 5 - 7. Produced by Florida-based Aloha Tournaments, this highly competitive Lacrosse tournament will target boys ages 9-15. In year 2 and beyond, girls' Lacrosse will be added to the tournament. The goal is to build and grow a major Lacrosse tournament for Sacramento and the Western US and the Sports Commission anticipates 60 - 80 teams the first year and a total of 250-300 teams by year 5, or 2017. This event will generate 750 room nights over 4 nights in the first year alone.
The combined economic impact for those three new sporting events is a conservative $3.7 million.