Future of Steamboat soccer tournament is unclear | SteamboatToday.com

Future of Steamboat soccer tournament is unclear

Decreasing sponsorships could spell doom for annual event

How to help

Sponsorships for the 2011 Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament are available through Friday. Contact Kami Brockway at 970-846-1088 or email

— Organizers of a local youth soccer tournament that annually sparks one of the busiest weekends of the summer tourism season say a lack of business sponsorships could bring about its end.

The Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament, scheduled for July 15 to 17 this year, usually draws 110 teams to the city each summer. Tournament promoters say the event brings quality soccer to the valley for local teams as well as fills hotel rooms, restaurants and other businesses for three days on the summer calendar.

The local organizers also say the Steamboat Springs Soccer Association invests significant time and money to host the event each year, which is why they rely on local sponsors to provide dining, lodging and cash to help make the event possible.

Last year, local sponsors helped the soccer association cover approximately $18,000 of the $38,282 it took to put on the tournament. But this year, those sponsors have been harder to find, with tournament co-director Kami Brockway saying the number of sponsors for this year's event has dropped to 19, from 47 last year.

"We have fewer sponsors and sponsors that are not helping at the same level," Brockway said last week. "We are doing the best we can and understand that the economy is down. If we had a $1,000 sponsor last year and they give $500 this year, we are grateful."

Rob Bohlmann, club director for the Steamboat Springs Youth Soccer Association, said this year's tournament is going forward as planned. However, the struggle to find sponsors has organizers discussing the tournament's future.

"We are going to have to ask if this tournament is worth doing in 2012 and beyond," Bohlmann said. "The soccer association has made this tournament a premier event … but we need to look at the amount of work that goes into putting it on and ask if the result is worth it."

Brockway said supporting the tournament also helps the community by lowing costs for local soccer programs.

Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association spokes­woman Michelle Krasilinec said the soccer tournament has been at the heart of the second busiest weekend the past two summers. She said that in 2009 the tournament tied with the Fourth of July weekend when it came to filling rooms in Steamboat.

Brockway said the event draws roughly 2,000 players. Including family members and referees, the total could swell to 10,000 to 12,000 people, she said.

"I would say 90 percent of those players bring the whole family. This is a family event, and the people who come are looking for a getaway weekend," Brockway said. "These numbers have been used for years. I prefer to go with the smaller numbers to be on the safe side, but I actually think it is on the higher side."

Like other events in Steamboat, the Mountain Soccer Tournament has seen its special funding support from the city shrink the past couple of years.

The Special Events Funding Committee gave the tournament $1,500 for marketing this year, down from $2,000 last year. Brockway said the soccer association added some of its own money to the marketing effort and already has 106 teams coming.

The cuts are something that Krasilinec said most special events have experienced. Steamboat Springs City Councilman Walter Magill, who serves on the Special Events Funding Committee, said it's always hard when it comes to funding events in Steamboat.

He said the goal of the Special Events Committee is to provide start-up dollars to new events in hopes they become self-supporting in future years. However, he said the committee also provides money to support several long running events in Steamboat, including the soccer tournament.

This year, the committee considered requests from more than 20 summer events. The funding is from city sales tax revenues passed through the Chamber Resort Association.

— To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com