Petco Downtown San Diego East Village
An aerial view of Petco Park and the city of San Diego. Photo credit:

With support from the San Diego Tourism Authority and Tourism Marketing District, Holiday Bowl officials have launched an effort to attract more high-profile sporting events to the region.

Sports San Diego will serve as the primary marketing tool for the area as a sports destination, while attempting to drive visitor demand through recruiting and supporting “world-class sports events.”

San Diego has played host to some of the sporting world’s largest events, most recently the U.S. Open in golf and the Breeders Cup, both in 2021. Other past events include the Super Bowl, X-Games and MLB’s All-Star Game.

San Diego Bowl Game Association CEO Mark Neville noted the organization’s success in bringing events to the region, including the Navy vs. Notre Dame football game in 2018 and 2020’s successful bid on the 2022 Transplant Games of America.

“A few years ago, we took a strategic look at how we can do more for the community and that resulted in growing our scope to host more events …” Neville said. “Being the primary organization for marketing San Diego as a sports destination is a natural for us.”

Founding business partners include Qualcomm, Kaiser Permanente, General Dynamics NASSCO, and Rady Children’s Hospital.

According to Tourism Economics, nearly 180 million people traveled to a sports event in the U.S. as a participant or spectator in 2019, resulting in $45.1 billion in economic impact.

Locally, it is estimated that sports events generate over 300,000 hotel room nights each year.

Julie Coker, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority called sports “a critical component of our local tourism industry, attracting more visitors while cementing San Diego’s reputation for health and wellness.”

She added, “the creation of Sports San Diego will help us up our game as we work together to grow this market.”