The United States Bowling Congress announced today it will hold 13 events - seven Open Championships and six Women's Championships - from 2011 through 2029 in a privately-funded bowling center on land being made available at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Osceola County, Fla.
The agreement begins with the 2011 Open Championships. The Open will be held every three years after that through 2029. The first Women's Championships will be in 2013 and held every three years through 2028.
"USBC is proud to bring two of the world's largest participatory sporting events to Osceola County," said USBC Vice President of Tournaments and Events Jack Mordini. "USBC's partnership with Osceola County, Disney Sports Enterprises, the Central Florida Sports Commission and the developer will bring hundreds of thousands of participants and visitors to Central Florida who will enjoy the many amenities and attractions the area has to offer. This is one of the greatest announcements in the bowling industry since the invention of the automatic pinsetter."
Each tournament will run for approximately 20 weeks and is expected to draw tens of thousands of bowlers and spectators. The USBC Open Championship is projected to generate approximately 59,000 room nights per tournament and the Women's Championship is projected to generate approximately 40,000 room nights per tournament for Osceola County. Combined, the tournaments are expected to generate nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in economic impact for the community over that time period.
"Osceola County is thrilled that this endeavor, nicknamed Project Rolling Rock by the Economic Development Department, has come to fruition. We welcome USBC to our community," said Commissioner Ken Shipley.
The Central Florida Sports Commission worked with the USBC and related parties to develop this opportunity for Osceola County.
"The acquisition of this business is a watershed event for Osceola County. The USBC Championships will be a powerful annuity program for the County for the next 20 years," said John Saboor, president of the Central Florida Sports Commission.
Osceola County was one of five communities under consideration for the 2011 USBC Open Championships. The others were Wichita, Kan.; Tulsa, Okla.; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Reno, Nev.
Walt Disney World Resort is making land available at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex to accommodate the large facility required to host the tournaments. Walt Disney World Resort will work closely with a third-party - to be announced later - to build and operate the privately-funded bowling center.
"We are excited to play a role in making this dream come true," said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. "This project is a reminder of just how much we can accomplish for our community when the public and private sectors work together."
I guess I can look forward to seeing Mickey every 3 years now.