Lafayette Set to Boost Sports Tourism with New State-of-the-Art Indoor Facility
In a landmark announcement, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory, the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission (LCVC), and the Acadiana Hotel and Lodging Association have unveiled plans for an ambitious indoor sports facility. This facility is aimed at strengthening Lafayette Parish's position as a sports tourism hub, increasing hotel and motel overnight stays, and driving visitor spending.
The decision follows a comprehensive independent study carried out by the Huddle Up Group, specialists in sports tourism and venue consulting. The study revealed that Lafayette Parish currently lacks a facility capable of hosting major regional, state, or national sporting events. "This is a historic announcement for Lafayette Parish and the region," said Ben Berthelot, President & CEO of the LCVC. "It marks a pivotal moment that benefits both the quality of life for our residents and boosts our tourism economy."
The proposed multi-purpose sports center will feature a minimum of eight basketball courts and 16 volleyball courts. Its versatile design will also accommodate pickleball, wrestling, and other sporting events. The Huddle Up Group and Lafayette Travel project that this state-of-the-art facility could generate a minimum of 30,000 new room nights per year. It will be the first of its kind on the I-10 corridor stretching from Jacksonville to Houston.
Funding for this initiative will be derived from a two percent self-imposed assessment on Lafayette Parish's hotels and motels. This move is authorized by statewide legislation passed in 2021, allowing tourism commissions to establish tourism recovery and improvement districts. So far, 71 percent of local hotels and motels have agreed to the assessment, exceeding the required 67 percent threshold.
Mayor-President Josh Guillory emphasized the potential of this facility to make Lafayette Parish a more prominent host for state, regional, and national tournaments. "This is a significant development for our Parks, Arts, Recreation, and Culture Department, and adds to the strength of our youth sports market," Guillory added.
Ricky Patel, LCVC Board of Directors Vice Chairman and Divi Hospitality Managing Principal, highlighted the broader economic implications. "This investment not only boosts tourism but also lures sports-related businesses, training camps, and conferences. It's a win-win scenario that will benefit hotels, restaurants, and retailers while promoting a healthier lifestyle and fostering a sense of community pride," said Patel.
As plans move into the execution phase, excitement is building among stakeholders. Lafayette is positioning itself as a powerhouse in sports tourism, and the community eagerly awaits the day it can enjoy this game-changing project.