ROCKFORD - The Forest City's
various sports complexes have held everything from table tennis tournaments to
cheer competitions. So why not add the
up and coming sport of quidditch? The
Harry Potter-inspired sport is on the way in the form of its own tournament
coming to the Rockford Park District soccer fields by Elliot Golf Course.
Rockford's Convention and
Visitors Bureau capitalized on the idea from an intern who had suggested
bringing something like a quidditch tournament to Rockford.
The game, which was established from J.K. Rowling's books back in 2005,
has grown to encompass more than 1,000 teams worldwide; most of those teams are
clubs at colleges and universities.
RACVB President and CEO, John Groh, says he's very excited to see this new
sport come to Rockford. He says the tournament is a direct result of
strategic efforts to target non-traditional sports.
"When the idea
first came to us this past summer, our staff reached out to the association and
followed it like a dog on a scent and followed up and today we are here making
the announcement," said Groh.
The CVB is taking
advantage of 30 plus teams in the Midwest region
that are established teams and play with the International Quidditch
Association, the IQA. Midwest
Regional Director for IQA, Luke Zak says there are plenty more teams that are
in the process of forming and becoming members of IQA.
"You have 21
players per roster, plus managers and coaches," said Zak commenting on the
tournament's economic impact.
"So you have all of
these people coming into your city. They're
all going to be staying in your hotels filling up rooms. They're going to be out in the city doing
touristy things in between time and eating at all the restaurants."
Even though the quidditch
tournament that's headed to Rockford
is only looking at hosting about 16 teams, it could generate upwards of $40,000
in business for the area. Illinois State
Quidditch Representative for IQA Shayla Johnson says the RACVB did a great job
in working on making the IQA make the decision to choose Rockford.
"They didn't think,
'Oh wow, quidditch this is something silly,'" said Johnson. "They took it very seriously. They listened to everything we had to say,
took our input from previous tournaments and said how could we apply this here,
how could we make it work here?"
Johnson adds that Rockford's time
investment in quidditch could have even bigger returns down the road.
"We talked about
the future of quidditch here in Rockford
and that this would be an amazing site for the World Cup," said Johnson.
That IQA World Cup
was held in New York City
last year and brought 100 teams along with it.
Spectators come to watch the tournament and pay to see the World Cup