By Matt Crimmins
Event Manager, Gainesville Sports Commission
The 11th and final weekend of the 2015 Florida State Bowling Association Open Championships takes place this weekend, June 27-28. The Greater Gainesville Bowling Association (GGBA) and the Gainesville Sports Commission (GSC) hosted the tournament in Gainesville, Florida, for the first time.
United States Bowling Congress (USBC) members from all around the state of Florida have traveled each weekend, beginning on April 11, to bowl in teams and doubles/singles events at Splitz at Funworks and Alley Gatorz Bowling Center.
Susan Sheridan, Director of the Greater Gainesville Bowling Association, is pleased with the outcome of hosting this prestigious tournament. Sheridan states, “The GGBA will have close to $15,000 to donate to the youth programs from our 50/50 raffle and ball raffles. We have heard feedback from the bowlers that this was one of the most organized tournaments they have attended!” The association also expressed gratitude to the Gainesville Sports Commission and all of the volunteers who have made this a successful event. “Without the help from the GSC and all of our volunteers, we would not have had a positive experience.”
The event has had a significant impact on the local economy during the slower summer months for hotels and restaurants. Tony Saccaro, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Holiday Inn University Center, was thrilled at the impact the event had on our local economy.
“We are grateful of the impact from the 11 weeks of the bowling tournaments, as it was a huge boost to our community, our hotel and revenue for the months of April, May and June. The tournament generated close to 900 room nights for the Holiday Inn University Center as well as over $100,000 in room and food and beverage revenue”, Saccaro said.
Holiday Inn University Center was chosen by the Florida State Bowling Association to serve as the host hotel. Its partner restaurant, Piesanos Pints and Pies, scheduled entertainment on Friday nights for the bowlers to enjoy. They were treated to the smooth jazz sounds of Johnny Magnusson, who has played with famous jazz musicians Kenny G and Boney Jones.
“Our goal is to not just host a sporting event for economic impact, but create a special experience for the participants so that once the event is over the participants will become return visitors again and again” said GSC Executive Director, Joleen Cacciatore. “I believe we have succeeded in this because of the hard work of the GGBA and volunteers during the tournament and the community’s exceptional hotels and restaurants welcoming the bowlers into Gainesville during the past three months.”
The GSC was fortunate to win this bid last year with hosting the 5,000 bowlers and the economic impact of the visitors spending in Gainesville has exceeded expectations.
“Thank you to the GGBA, bowling centers, volunteers, hotels, restaurants and everyone involved during this 11 week tournament,” Cacciatore said.
All lanes – 24 at Splitz and 32 at Alley Gatorz – will be in use at both bowling centers for the final weekend, as they have been for many of the 11 weekends.
For information on attending one of the weekend’s sessions for interviews, photos or video, please contact Matt Crimmins at the Gainesville Sports Commission by calling 352-338-9300 or email [email protected].
Final Weekend Shift Times:
Splitz at Funworks (24 Lanes):
• Saturday, June 27- 9:00am-12:00pm; 1:00pm-4:00pm
• Sunday, June 28- 9:00am-12:00pm; 1:00pm-4:00pm
Alley Gatorz Bowling Center (32 Lanes):
• Saturday, June 27- 9:00am-12:30pm; 2:00pm-5:30pm; 7:00pm-10:30pm
• Sunday, June 28- 9:00am-12:30pm; 2:00pm-5:30pm