SPARKS — Summer events continue to hit the sand and waves of the Sparks Marina. Next up is the Xtreme Beach Sports Festival beginning today. Professional beach volleyball and watercraft racing teams will bring more than 500 all-American athletes to town for the inaugural event.
City of Sparks Special Events Manager Francine Burge said signing a five-year contract with the Beach Sports Network (BSN), which brings the Extreme Volleyball Professionals (EVP) and Upstate Watercraft Promotions (UWP) tours to Sparks, will inevitably bring thousands of people to the marina.
“We first met (BSN representatives) at a conference for sports producers last year and convinced them to come out to the marina to see the venue,” Burge said. “Their producer said this was the prettiest and best location they’ve ever been to.”
The City of Sparks and the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) gave the producers $20,000 to be the host city for the event, and the City of Sparks is helping with the cost of city services in the first year, according to Burge. She said the help will let BSN to reach out to more sponsors and local businesses during the first year, which will allow the group to optimize the event in the future.
“They are bringing in hundreds of athletes who are filling up hotels and in the coming years the circulation will be even greater,” Burge said. “We have anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 people (at the marina) for the 4th of July and this event has the potential to be as larger or larger than that.”
With events like the Reno Rodeo, Reno River Festival and Street Vibration’s Spring Rally consuming weekends in June, the Sparks Marina has held its fair share of unique events to bring residents and tourists to the Sparks area.
“Sparks has been doing an incredibly creative job in bringing in events to the region. The credit goes to them in putting together things that are hard to resist,” said Chris Baum, president and CEO of the RSCVA. “The marina is an asset for Sparks and their creativity creates a steady stream that is great for locals and soon will be great for visitors.”
Baum said the Xtreme Beach Sports Festival will have plenty of time to reap the benefits of holding their event for more than one year, which will allow the support of locals and visitors to be revealed.
“It takes a couple years to get the word out to interested parties. So many places hold an event once and don’t give it time to put down any roots,” he said. “The local support reflects the pride of the people who live there and it reflects well on visitors as well. Visitors will not have to ask themselves why the locals won’t come out and support something that is truly great.”
Baum said the degree to which Reno and Sparks host events is on a much higher tier than other cities that host similar events. The ability to bring in professionals for events such as the Rib Cook-Off keeps people interested and supporting the events’ return the following year, according to Baum.
The Sparks Marina, in particular, has attracted diverse events during the summer that have brought in tourists and locals alike. With the final electrical touches being placed on their newly renovated beach and grass areas, officials say the marina is ready to handle any event.
“You take an event like the Concrete Canoe Competition, which was a national event that brought in teams from all over the country, and turn around the next day and have Dash for Dads where people can come out to support Prostate Cancer,” Burge said. “It brings a great variety and great exposure for the city and brought some people who maybe haven’t been to the marina before.”