The U.S. Bowling Congress announced today that it will hold its Open Championships in Syracuse in 2018 — a four-month tournament that is expected to draw an estimated 80,000 visitors to downtown.
The tournament, formerly named the American Bowling Congress Championships, will be held from March through July 2018 at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center, Onondaga County’s convention center on Harrison and South State streets.
Construction of a state-of-the-art bowling facility at the center will begin two months before the bowlers arrive.
Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau President David Holder said between 12,000 and 16,000 five-player teams are expected to participate in the 125-day sporting event. About 60,000 participants will travel from around the country to bowl in Syracuse, and they will bring an estimated 20,000 friends and family members with them, he said.
Spending by the visitors will pump an estimated $70 million into the local economy, Holder said. About 200 temporary jobs will be created by the event, he said.
Convention & Visitors Bureau officials and representatives from the Oncenter and the Onondaga County Legislature traveled to Texas in January to present an official bid to host the event. Syracuse competed against several other cities to host the event.
This will be the fifth time Syracuse has hosted the tournament. It also did so in 1935, 1958, 1973 and 1999.
“We are excited about the opportunity to bring the tournament to the East Coast, and Syracuse has everything we look for in a host city,” USBC Executive Director Stu Upson said in a statement. “It has been a few years since the Open Championships event was held there, so the bowlers will have the chance to see all of the great new things Syracuse has to offer as well as revisit the places that made 1999 so enjoyable.”
Syracuse is no stranger to big bowling events. It hosted the USBC Women’s Championships, the world’s largest participatory sporting event for women, in 1940, 1954 and 2011. The 2011 event attracted 5,822 five-woman teams and generated an estimated $40 million in travel spending, according to the Convention & Visitors Bureau.