The Columbus Area Visitors Center has named a new director of sports tourism. Spokeswoman Erin Hawkins says that Isaac DeClue will be charged with continuing to grow sports tourism in Bartholomew County. DeClue replaces former director Eric Marvin, who resigned in August.

Hawkins says that growth in sporting events has skyrocketed over the last decade. She notes that when the Visitors Center began its sports initiative in 2004, Columbus and Bartholomew County hosted 21 sports events. Nearly 90 sports events were held in Bartholomew County in 2017.

Hawkins says that DeClue is a Columbus native who managed Tre Bicchieri Italian Restaurant in downtown Columbus for 10 years before serving as a digital sales specialist at AIM Media for two years. DeClue is a graduate of Columbus East and obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.

“Ike’s experience in sales, coupled with his and wide-reaching network of relationships in the community makes him the ideal individual for this role,” said Karen Niverson, executive director of Columbus Area Visitors Center. “Columbus has had tremendous success as a sports tourism destination and we’re eager to see how Ike will lead efforts to increase capacity and grow this segment of our business.”

Hawkins says that sports tourism has become a huge economic driver for the area. By the end of 2017, the Columbus Area Visitors Center estimates that athletes and spectators will have spent $12 million in Columbus and Bartholomew County.