Promoting diversity in Columbus sporting events
Local officials are investing in plans to combine the region's love for sports with an ongoing commitment to promote racial equity and inclusion.
Why it matters: As Columbus pushes to become a major sports hub, targeted investments can prevent diverse communities being excluded from the economic and cultural gains.
Driving the news: Franklin County Commissioners invested $130,000 yesterday toward a partnership between the county's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission.
- In particular, the county wants to support events that promote women in sports and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
State of play: The Commission has turned our city into a favorable neutral site for top-tier sporting events, attracting thousands of fans to the Arena District.
- Most notably, Columbus hosted the women's Final Four in 2018 and the tournament will return in 2027.
- More recently was the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which also featured skaters taking part in a panel on diversity and inclusion at the Lincoln Theatre.
- Also last month, 16 high school basketball teams traveled from as far away as Toronto to compete in the MLK Showdown in Grove City.
What they're saying: "The Greater Columbus Sports Commission prides itself on hosting and attracting diverse sports events that reflect our community," senior director of business development Celia Anderson tells Axios.
- "We are thankful to the Franklin County Board of Commissioners for continuing to support those efforts into 2024."
What's next: County funding will support African American Male Wellness Agency programming, along with two upcoming events.
- The Classic For Columbus in April is a collegiate basketball exhibition featuring players, dancers and bands from HBCUs across the country. Proceeds fund student scholarships.
- In June, an organization known as Compete Sports Diversity will host its summer conference here. The group complimented the city on its "unwavering commitment to inclusion in sports."
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