By: Follow South Jersey Staff
WILDWOOD, N.J. — The Spirit Brands Cheerleading Competitions, held annually at the Wildwoods Convention Center since 2003, have been named among the 2020-2021 Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism by Sports Destination Management, according to The Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority (GWTIDA).
The award recognizes events throughout the country that showed courage in face of the unknown, resilience in times of uncertainty, and optimism that things would, someday, turn around after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spirit Brands worked closely with the Wildwoods Convention Center to bring back the cheerleading championships to the Convention Center, and the competitions were the reopening event in March 2021, when the venue reopened after being closed for almost a year following the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 10 events were held in relation to Spirit Brands Cheerleading Competitions in a span of two months, from March through May 2021. The two organizations implemented health and safety precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable event experience; including enhanced sanitizing protocols, hand sanitizing stations positioned throughout the facility, spectator limits, mandated masking requirements and temperature checks for everyone who entered the facility.
The March 2020 cheerleading competition was the last event to be held at the Convention Center before the pandemic forced the venue to close and cancel events for the rest of the year. Coincidentally, the March 2021 event was the first held to reopen the facility once the shutdown was lifted.
“We are pleased to have the Spirit Brands Cheerleading Competitions, a staple of youth sporting events in the Wildwoods, awarded a 2020-2021 Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism Award,” John Siciliano, Executive Director/CFO of GWTIDA, said in a press release. “We are grateful to Spirit Brands owner and producer Glenn Kingsbury, his staff and the entire Wildwoods Convention Center team for all of their hard work and dedication to present these award-winning cheerleading events each year; and especially for Spirit Brands’ contribution to the economic growth of the Wildwoods.”
Held annually at the Wildwoods Convention Center, Spirit Brands Cheerleading Competitions feature teams competing on a 54’ by 42’ spring floor and performing incredible stunts in hopes of winning the judges’ votes. All performances are choreographed to music and sound effects. In 2021, the competitions contributed about $300,000 to the Wildwoods economy, and brought about 5,000 spectators to the resort destination.
“I am truly honored to receive this recognition from Sports Destination Management. I have been running cheer events in the Wildwoods Convention Center since 2003 and the Wildwoods have become my home base,” said Glenn Kingsbury, owner of Spirit Brands. “The facility is top notch but the people I work with at the Convention Center are what helps make all the events a success. In the last 17 years, Spirit Brands has brought more than $200 million to the economy of the Wildwoods, and we’re excited to continue that growth in the years to come.”
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