southern oregon sports commission, sosc, sports banner, medford oregon, heart of the rogue


Sports tourism plays an integral role in the travel and hospitality industry and adds to the growth of a community through economic impact. In fact, sports travelers, event organizers and venues spent $39.7 billion in 2021 in the U.S. When U.S. Cellular Community Park (now Lithia & Driveway Fields) opened in 2008, few people realized what kind of impact a complex of that caliber would make on Medford & the Rogue Valley. It didn’t take long to figure out that hundreds of people were traveling to Medford to play on those fields and when they did, they spent money in the community. According to the City of Medford’s 2021 Annual Report, Lithia & Driveway Fields has generated over $57 million in spending from teams visiting Medford since it opened.

Medford has an abundance of venues, both man-made and natural, that also bring visitors each year for sports events. This trend in the growth of sports tourism was the catalyst for Travel Medford to form the Southern Oregon Sports Commission in 2013. Since the inception of the Sports Commission, Advocacy remains on of our main areas of focus.

The Commission has held a handful of events to help the community understand the importance of sports and will continue to do so. These events are often in conjunction with a major local sports event.

For six consecutive years, SOSC held the “Top 10 Sports Stories of the Year” banquet where they honored the top local male and female athletes and events. More than 200 people attended the celebration each year and Advocacy was always featured in the program.

It was in 2016 that members of the Commission noticed a disturbing trend regarding the challenge of recruiting and retaining officials – an issue that nearly every level of every sport was experiencing. In answer to this, and in an effort to improve the culture of sports in southern Oregon, SOSC created the “Know Your Role” brand awareness marketing campaign aimed at curbing poor behavior at sports events. The campaign has been embraced by the local schools, clubs and organizations and has since been nationally syndicated to statewide and national organizations such as USA Softball.

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