If you visit Blaine, Minnesota in mid-July you will see the legacy and impact of the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission's (MASC) vision of the benefits of amateur sports. Around 1,000 youth soccer teams come every year to the campus of the National Sports Center to compete for 10 days of dawn-to-dusk soccer games, clinics and social activities. Teams from over 20 different states and nearly as many foreign countries bring over $21 million of out-of-state economic impact to Minnesota. This is Schwan's USA CUP, and for MASC it is the most visible product of 25 years of hard work to establish amateur sports as a productive business stream for Minnesota.
The tournament didn't start out as the mega event it has become. In 1985, the tournament attracted just 69 teams. Its current home, the National Sports Center, hadn't even been built. But in the 29 years since, over 12,000 teams from 48 states and 62 different countries have traveled to Minnesota to play youth soccer. It's a remarkable story; a testament to how amateur sports can boost the economy and create invaluable opportunities for Minnesotans.
MASC was born out of the realization that amateur sports, including youth sports, is the ultimate win-win industry. Its promotion and growth benefits Minnesotans with a healthier lifestyle, newfound skills, friendships, and the love of sport and competition. It's also good business for the state. Each event, whether it's Schwan's USA CUP, the Twin Cities or Grandma's Marathon, golf or hockey tournaments, softball or baseball tournaments, has the potential to attract out-of-state and international teams and athletes who travel to Minnesota to spend money and boost the economy, and also to offer unique competition for home-state athletes.
MASC has helped to build the business of amateur sports by:
- Construction of amateur sports facilities that create the venues for events and training. The vast majority of these facilities have been constructed through funding partnerships between the State of Minnesota and non-state funders.
- Creation of sports events that attract out-of-state visitors and increase sport opportunities for Minnesota residents.
- Bidding for and hosting of major championship events and training camps that attract out-of-state business and offer Minnesota fans the chance to see the best athletes in the world competing at an elite level.
- Specifically working to increase opportunities for women and girls in amateur sports.