Matt Wilson is Vice President, Sports & Events for the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau and Executive Director for Arlington Sports Commission in Arlington, Texas. As a 2020 Connect Sports Game Changer, he discusses his passion for sports tourism.
How I got here: I came from the college bowl business and wasn't completely sure of what I was doing when I first started at the Austin Sports Commission. I have been blessed to work with great professionals and with some stellar organizations. Matthew Payne, my former boss in Austin, said it best, "Earn their trust, be a good dude and everything will go from there."
Why I am a Game Changer: Arlington has seen remarkable growth in the seven years I've been here. That's not all because of me, mind you. We have tremendous leadership in our city. However, they've seen the power of sports tourism and we're building around it every day. The new hotels, the changes to our amateur sports complexes and future development hinge on the things I've been able to bring to the table.
Specific event I am proud of: Watching programs from some of your amazing clients like USA Football gain steam and become national powerhouses is always fun. I remember the first few times we hosted events we didn't have a playbook, so it was some trial and error. As far as major events, not much can ever top hosting Wrestlemania 32 at AT&T Stadium. That set the attendance record for the event and the facility.
Impressive stats: The scope of our organization has changed since joining the work here in Arlington. I think the goal for sports back in 2013 was around 12,000 room nights. Our goal this year is almost 90,000 room nights.
What I do outside of work: I play guitar almost every night and I'm working on the fiddle. I have two beautiful daughters and we love to go on adventures together. I consider myself and avid outdoorsman and spend a lot of my free time hunting or fishing.
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