As casinos close, can sports help save Atlantic City?
ATLANTIC CITY — As the sports world continues to expand, so do the convention and event chances for a place like this shore town, where officials try to fill the gap created by a shrinking casino industry.
A recent sports convention in Atlantic City attended by groups and reps from cities all over the country has brought the issue of attracting sports-oriented conventions and events into sharp focus. Jim Wood, CEO of Meet AC, says there were over 300 cities at the Teams '16' event at the Atlantic City Convention Center, which his group promotes.
"It is just amazing what has happened in the world of sports," he said last week.
Meet AC is the sales and marketing arm for Atlantic City to attract meetings and conventions. Wood says his group will be working to attract more sporting events and sports-related meetings to Atlantic City.
Wood says hosting teams will give them the opportunity to showcase the city. He adds that there is a wide variety of events that the city could host, including drone racers.
"We talked to USA Fencing, USA Running. There is rugby-on-the-beach events. We have tennis, pro watercross, and there are some other boating events. There is canoe and kayaking organizations. It is just a very, very diverse mix of sports groups that are out there."
It is a fact of life in Atlantic City that there is cold weather for at least part of the year. What happens then? Wood says "indoor events." That will include sporting events such as judo and other so-called "mat" events and cheerleading competitions and indoor volleyball. Even arm-wrestling.
"I think that we have a great variety of assets, and a awful lot of sporting groups to look at and try to bring to Atlantic City."
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.