The effort to create a Maine Sports Commission to help the state attract billions of dollars in athletic events appears to be on a fast track. Brian Corcoran, owner of Shamrock Sports Group in Portland, says he is serving on a task force to develop the proposed panel along with Pat Eltman, director of the Maine Office of Tourism, Barbara Whitten, CEO of the Greater Portland Convention & Visitors Bureau, Jo Williams, head of the University of Southern Maine sports management department, Brian Petrovek, CEO and managing partner of the Portland Pirates, and Godfrey Wood, CEO of the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce. In an e-mail, Corcoran wrote the task force could include more statewide representation as the process evolves. The task force is scheduled to meet with Don Schumacher, CEO of the National Association of Sports Commissions, for a two-day training in mid-June.
If everything proceeds according to plan, Corcoran says the Maine Sports Commission could be launched in August. During a University of Southern Maine forum on the business of sports in March, Corcoran said sporting events and businesses pump up to $1.8 billion into Maine each year and that figure could be much higher if a statewide sports commission recruited events.
Schumacher told Mainebiz in April that having a sports commission in a national association brings access to a network of sports events, market data and other resources to help the state land more events. Currently, various sports groups work independently on their own events without a single authority charged with recruiting sports events to Maine overall.