Sports Foundation celebrates 25 years of success

Professional, amateur events generate $2 billion in economic impact.

Among most local sports fans, the names Cicero, Ferrante and Joffray may not have the same level of recognition as Brees, Payton or Thomas. But they’re as equally responsible for turning New Orleans into a champion.

The team at the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation (GNOSF) often flies under the radar, but they have been responsible for cementing the Crescent City as one of the nation’s premiere sports-related destinations. In short order, it is largely responsible for bringing to New Orleans big time events, like NFL championships and NBA All-Star Games, as well as several amateur events that pack local hotels and restaurants with family, friends and supporters.

For the past several years, the foundation has been led by Jay Cicero, Billy Ferrante and Sam Joffray, who are responsible for procuring events, organizing events’ bid preparation, valuation and presentation, as well as event management and marketing, facilities improvement consulting and organizing youth development programs.

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Founded in August 1988 as a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization with a mission to develop sports tourism, the GNOSF has turned $64.7 million from public and private investment sources into more than $2 billion in economic impact for the city and state. In 2013, Super Bowl XLVII generated an estimated economic impact of $434 million, with $15.2 million in state tax dollars. And the 2014 NBA All-Star Game produced $106.1 million, with $60.4 million in direct spending. Roughly $4.9 million in tax revenue was generated for the state of Louisiana, with $3.2 million in tax revenue going to governments in the New Orleans area, according to a study by the University of New Orleans’ Hospitality Research Center.

The GNOSF has a long-standing reputation of hosting events of all sizes, and a rich history of working with world-class governing bodies and numerous professional and amateur organizations to host sporting events, including several Super Bowls, NCAA men’s & women’s Final Four and regional tournaments, collegiate conference tournaments and championships, The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)’s Junior Olympic Games, Bassmasters Classics, the annual New Orleans Bowl, Ironman 70.3 Triathlons, as well as the 1992 Olympic Track and Field Trials, the Tiger Woods Foundation Golf Clinic Weekend and, most recently, WWE Wrestlemania.

“New Orleans is one of the few host cities that has significant full-time, professional management of the preparation, planning and execution of major sporting events and our work is never finished,” said GNOSF President and CEO Cicero. “We are constantly looking ahead to ensure New Orleans continues securing major championships and maintaining its place as the premiere destination for championships and events.”

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