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Taking a Focused Approach to Sports Tourism in Oakland

CitiesOaklandTaking a Focused Approach to Sports Tourism in Oakland

Bloomberg Associates worked with the City of Oakland to promote the city’s capacity to host mid-size to large sporting events.


The key takeaway from hosting US Rowing’s 2018 Masters National Championships was a 180-degree change in perception of the attendees, who were blown away by Oakland. To have the new CEO of US Rowing ask if they could return in 2020 was a testament that Oakland had set the standard for future regattas.

Mark Everton, CEO, Visit Oakland

Relevant Expertise

Enhance City Communications and Resident Engagement

  • Events Attraction and Management

Spur Business and Industry Growth

  • Tourism and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) Attraction


The City of Oakland and its tourism bureau, Visit Oakland, were having difficulty attracting sporting events that would create an economic and social impact. A lack of coordination between various public and private stakeholders was producing bids and proposals that did not meet organizer expectations, while leaving event producers frustrated with the overall process.

Visit Oakland


Bloomberg Associates conducted a thorough venue analysis and met with various stakeholders including hotel and venue managers throughout the city. It immediately became apparent that Lake Merritt, a unique body of water in downtown Oakland just minutes away from potential host hotels, venues, and commercial hubs, was one of the greatest (and underutilized) event hosting assets and locations in the city.

With Bloomberg Associates’ support, Visit Oakland began looking for opportunities to activate Lake Merritt’s potential to host aquatic events such as national and international rowing. Attracting these events would increase room nights and day rates, boost hospitality spending, and provide an opportunity for Oakland residents, specifically youth, to get on the water.


Visit Oakland, with input from Bloomberg Associates and support from key members of the city’s tourism industry, put together a comprehensive bid to host the 2018 and 2020 U.S Rowing Masters National Championships. After an intensive bid process, Oakland was awarded the Championships. The 2018 event attracted over double the number of expected rowers, filled hotel rooms during a typically low-time for occupancy, and provided Visit Oakland with an opportunity to share their story with a national audience.


1650 registrants

$6M economic impact of the event