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Sports Incentivization Grants

The Sports Incentivization Grant will help local government and nonprofit entities attract sporting events and overnight visitors to destination communities in the State of Washington. It will offset the costs of hosting competitive sporting events and incentivize sports rights holders to bring events to Washington and spur economic activity. These events should resemble tournaments or competitions where individuals or teams compete against each other. State of Washington Tourism (SWT) will also consider other sporting events on a case-by-case basis.  

Applicants may request up to $30,000. Cash match or in-kind contributions are encouraged, but not necessary. The Sports Incentivization Grant must support new sporting events or those not held in the destination community for at least three years.  

2024 Application Process & Timeline 

Feb. 15-March 15: Application period. 

Mid-March: A review committee of industry experts will evaluate the leading grant applications. 

April 15: Award recipients will be notified by email.  

July 1, 2024: Sporting event must be contracted by this date. 

Dec. 31, 2025: Event must take place by this date December 31, 2025. 

Applications may be submitted before securing a bid for a sporting event – but contracting with sports rights holders should occur no later than July 1, 2024. Awardees must notify SWT immediately if the event is not confirmed and contracted, or if the contracted event is canceled, rescheduled, or downsized. The transfer of grant funds to an awardee will only occur when the sporting event has been secured.  

The sporting events should also ensure at least 50 athletes and coaches over at least two days. Single-day events will be considered if they bring a majority of athletes from 50+ miles away. 

Successful applicants will reserve grant funds from a pool to help provide travel and lodging for participants, provide amenities, pay for venue usage fees, and support other eligible expenses pending a successful bid. If a bid for a sporting event is unsuccessful, the grant funds will return to the pool for other applicants according to a ranked waitlist.  

Eligible and Ineligible Expenses 

Incentives will vary depending on the size and scope of each sporting event. Advanced planning and careful consideration are necessary to maximize the use of grant funds. Changes in dollar amounts or incentives must be submitted to SWT for approval if they differ significantly from the awardee’s original proposal. 

SWT will provide a list of eligible and ineligible expenses that represent the most common types of expenses associated with sports tournaments/competitions. Still, they are not all-inclusive and an expense on the eligible list does not guarantee reimbursement. 

View a list of eligible and ineligible expenses

Stipulations for Working with Contractors 

Applicants should express an intention to seek contract work from a third party without naming a vendor. They must describe the need for a product or service in addition to the desired qualifications from the vendor.  

Applicants must also abide by the following stipulations as outlined by the Washington State Department of Commerce:  

If a micro-purchase (up to $10,000):

If a small purchase ($10,001 – $30,000): 

For purchases above $30,000 (or $40,000 if using a certified small or veteran-owned business), applicants will need to follow the federal procurement process outlined in 2 CFR 200 procurement

Applicants awarded grant funds must submit all contracts/contractors involved with each project to SWT for review and approval. Grantees and contractors must have UEI numbers, and the latter must be billed on a reimbursement basis after services are rendered. Some eligible expenses can only be covered at OFM reimbursement rates.

Reporting and Oversight 

Awardees will need to submit a copy of the event contract, RFP/bid document, and proof of payment(s) to SWT. The latter must occur 30 days after the event and accompany a written report.  

The final report should include: 

Awardees must also submit a report and schedule check-in meetings with SWT for the duration of the grant project. 

Questions?

For questions about eligible/ineligible expenses, sporting events, and the application portal, view the FAQ page for this grant program or contact Tamara Rice (tamara@stateofwatourism.com). Additionally, please watch the recording of the info session for this grant for more information. 

These funds are made possible through a federal grant from the Economic Development Administration, awarded to State of Washington Tourism by the Washington State Department of Commerce for tourism industry pandemic recovery.