Illustration: Lindsay Bailey/Axios
The Des Moines metro is expected to host one of the most “diverse and lucrative” sporting events to date in 2023.
Push news: According to convention and visitors bureau Catch Des Moines, a record number of sporting events and attendees are expected to congregate in the subway this year.
- Catch Des Moines CEO Greg Edwards told Axios that the event calendar begins with 20,000 people in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in March.
Game status: There are “easily” over 100,000 people here for events like the AAU Youth Olympics, Hy-Vee IndyCar competitions, Ironman 70.3 and even Major League “Quidditch” type competitions.
flashback: Twenty years ago, most of Des Moines’ venue bookings were for conventions (80 percent) and only 20 percent for sporting events, Edwards said.
- That has shifted to almost 50-50 today.
How it happened: Build more stadiums that also offer indoor space during the winter, Edwards said, such as the Iowa Events Center and the new 300,000-square-foot MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex.
conspiracy: Edwards, who bid to bring the events to DSM, said targeting more niche sports, such as skateboarding or archery, was helpful.
What’s next: Construction is underway on several major sports venues, including the second phase of the Grimesplex, the Ignit Sports and Recreation Center and the Prairie Trail Sports Complex.