The Savannah Sports Council sports tourism grant is designed to attract new events and enhance current events to attract visitors who will stay overnight in the Savannah and Chatham County area. Funding is awarded through an application and post-event reporting process. The goal of the program is to promote tourism and enhance the quality of life in the area through quality sports related events.
All sports related events that meet the minimum criteria are eligible to apply.
In order for an event to be eligible for the sports tourism grant program, they must meet the minimum criteria as follows:
- Must be a sports related event, festival, or training group
- A proven ability to generate occupied room nights at hotels or other lodging entities within Chatham County with no less than 100 total room nights
For events occurring between January 1 and June 30, grant applications must be received by December 1 of the previous year. For events occurring between July 1 and December 31, grant applications must be received by June 1 of that year. First time events will be considered outside of this time period provided that Sports Council Advisory Board meeting is scheduled before their event and grant funds are available.
The applicant organization must complete and submit the grant application in full. All applications must be submitted through the online portal on the Sports Council website. No paper or emailed applications will be accepted without prior approval from the Sports Council Director who may be contacted by calling 912-644-6414.
Funding decisions will be made by the Savannah Sports Council Advisory Board. If requested by the Director of the Savannah Sports Council, a representative of the applicant organization may be required to attend or present virtually. Preference will be given to events as follows:
- Number of room nights generated through event
- Event scheduled during slower tourism periods
- Ability of event to generate significant media exposure for Savannah in other markets
- Track record of hosting quality and reputable events
- Multiple day events
- Event provides opportunity to host larger events in the future. For example, by hosting a regional qualifier in year one, the organization has a better chance to host a state or national championship in year two.
- Event demonstrates a plan to lessen the need for sports council funds in future years
- Past track record of event organizer through the Sports Tourism Grant Program
Approval and Payment Timeline
The Sports Council Advisory Board will meet to decide all grant requests. All grant amounts will be less than the estimated lodging tax generated as determined by Savannah Sports Council staff. Within 14 days of the meeting, events will be notified of the board’s decision and grant amount. Prior to the event occurring, the organization must provide the following:
- Proof of insurance with a minimum of $1,000,000 in coverage for event and naming the Savannah Sports Council, Visit Savannah, and the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce as additional insured.
- Signed host agreement with Savannah Sports Council
All grant payments will be made post-event and require the following for payment:
- Final list of teams or participant and location in which they reside which will be used to calculate a final count of room nights.
- If event is annual in nature, then organization must provide a signed host agreement for the following year with the Savannah Sports Council.
Payment should be expected within 30 days after all requirements have been met. If event is canceled or the actual number of attendees is far less than estimated than the grant will be canceled at the discretion of the Sports Council Director.
The Savannah Sports Council reserves the right to pro-rate the grant if actual visitors are less than initially projected by the promoter. Extenuating circumstances such as weather, act of God, etc. may apply. Final decision to be made by Sports Council staff.
Grant Request Guidance Chart
The following chart is purely a guidance for applicants and should not be interpreted as an expected grant amount or level of entitlement
100-500 total room nights – $500 – $1,500
501-2,000 total room nights – $1,500 – $3,000
2,001+ – $3,000 – $5,000
Event should estimate their room nights, but a final estimate will be determined by Sports Council staff using information provided on the application.
- Event owners must submit one application for each event unless prior approval is granted by SSC Director.
- Once a grant amount has been allocated, funds will not be disbursed until after the event has been completed and a post event economic impact report has been produced by SSC staff.
- SSC reserves the right to decline applications during high-tourism dates within Chatham County.
- If the event is cancelled for any reason, then no grant payment will paid to the grantee regardless of any expenditures the grantee has made.
- The SSC reserves the right to suspend the grant program and any awarded grants at any time, for any reason provided that prior notice is given to grantee by way of writing including email.