Sports have a major impact on The Bend’s economy.
Notre Dame football home games, along with those of other major sports at the university, draw visitors from all over the country. Yet how sports interact with the community goes far beyond Notre Dame. Youth sports — hockey, lacrosse, swimming, baseball and more — are significant drivers of visitor activity in the area. Couple that with the occasional professional event and you have a dynamic, year-round sports scene.
It’s no different in 2019. Major professional events will bring in thousands of people, along with national exposure. Meanwhile youth sports will continue to bring in a steady flow of visitors.
Check out some of 2019’s marquee events, along with a monthly calendar at the bottom of what’s coming up in The Bend.
Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic
Hockey tilts don’t get more historic than this Original Six matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins, set for New Year’s Day at Notre Dame Stadium. Outdoor games are a staple in the NHL these days, but they’ve never visited such a historic college football stadium. On top of this game, the Notre Dame hockey team will host rival Michigan on Jan. 5 in the same venue.
U.S. Senior Open
All eyes in the golf world will turn to Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame form June 24-30 as the 40th U.S. Senior Open is played. It’ll be the first time a United States Golf Association event is played on a college campus. The field of 150-plus participants will include some of golf’s legends. Well over 100,000 fans are expected.
Two of the world’s biggest soccer clubs — Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund — meet in The Bend on July 19 for a preseason friendly. Liverpool, which plays in England’s Premier League, is hosting the match at Notre Dame Stadium, one of the most historic sports venues in the United States. Borussia Dortmund is one of the top clubs in Germany’s Bundesliga and is home to United States soccer star Christian Pulisic.
America’s Youth on Parade
Celebrating its 50th year in South Bend, this weeklong baton twirling event (July 23-27) held at the University of Notre Dame is a staple in our community. Participants range in age from 4-years old to college. Over 8,000 people attend, resulting in about 3,000 hotel room nights.
Midwest League All-Star Game
For the first time in 30 years, the Midwest League All-Star Game (June 17-19) is returning to The Bend. Four Winds Field, the revitalized home to the South Bend Cubs, is serving as the host venue. Many activities are being planned to transform the event into a festival, aside from the home run derby and game itself.
USA Hockey U14 Tier II National Championships
USA hockey is bringing these youth national championships to The Bend for the first time from April 3-8. Compton Family Ice Arena and the Ice Box will host three classes, 40 teams and 77 games over the course of five days. The event is expected to generate about 2,500 room nights.
Hockey hits home
It’s not just a major hockey championship. Hockey Time essentially sets up shop in The Bend when the season starts. From September 2018 to April 2019, the group puts together 14 tournament weekends with Compton Family Ice Arena and the Ice Box as hosts. They bring in about 20,000 attendees and 10,000 room nights. Another hockey group, 200×85, will put on eight tournament weekends between October 2018 and January 2019, generating around 6,000 attendees and 3,000 hotel room nights.
Jr. Irish Soccer
More than 200 teams descend on The Bend during Memorial Day weekend (May 25-26) for Jr. Irish Soccer’s marquee tournament of the year. Irish Invaders, another local club, utilizes its facilities as well for two days of play on 18 fields. The tournament brings in about 7,000 people and 800 room nights.
Lacrosse makes its mark
Three organizations bring major lacrosse tournaments to The Bend between April and June. Rip the Duck (April 13-14), run by U.S. Lax Events generates about 1,250 room nights. Luck O’ the Draw (June 22-23), put on by Lacrosse of America, adds another 500 room nights.
Swimming takes center stage at the Rolf’s Aquatics Center on Notre Dame’s campus three times a year – January, May and July. Irish Aquatics brings in teams from all over the region, resulting about 6,000 attendees and 200 hotel room nights.
BPA Bronze World Series
The Baseball Players Association is hosting a new event utilizing Newton Park in Lakeville and Byers. Spread over three weekends (July 20-Aug. 4), the Bronze World Series will feature six different age groups between years eight and 14.
Sports events calendar – May
- May 3-5: NSA Fiesta, Newton Park
- May 10-12: Irish Aquatics Meet, Rolfs Aquatic Center
- May 10-12: BPA King of Diamonds, Newton Park
- May 17-19: NSA Turf Wars, Newton Park
- May 24-26: BPA Gold NIT, Newton Park
- May 25-26: Jr. Irish Soccer MDI Tournament, Jr. Irish Soccer Fields
- May 31-June 2: BPA Summer Showdown, Newton Park