2 minute read


Jennifer Hawkins


What is your title and how long have you held the position with SportsPITTSBURGH?

Executive Director, SportsPITTSBURGH, a division of VisitPITTSBURGH. I joined VisitPITTSBURGH in 2005 to launch Pittsburgh’s official entrance into sports event sales and marketing. Over the next 10 years, the Sports Marketing sales vertical developed into the Sports Development Department then SportsPITTSBURGH, a division of VisitPITTSBURGH.

What is your current organizational structure?

We are a division of VisitPITTSBURGH, the lead DMO for the Pittsburgh region.

of downtown Pittsburgh, there are certain sports and events that make sense.

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center is situated on the banks of the Allegheny River with 5,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of its front doors. With 236,800 square feet of column-free exhibit space and an additional 72,000 square feet space with columns every 60 feet, the venue is meant to transform from a meeting venue to a multicourt facility or hockey rink at a moment’s notice.

Annually, SportsPITTSBURGH hosts the Hoop Group Pitt Jam Fest boys’ basketball tournament. Since relocating the event to the DLCC, the event has grown to more than 600 teams competing in front of 200+ college coaches and scouts.

Similarly, we host the East Coast Volleyball Championships in the convention center each May. This event continues to attract elite girls club teams both nationally and internationally. A few blocks from the DLCC is PPG Paints Arena, home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. This state-of-the-art arena was constructed with professional and collegiate sports in-mind. Along with being a perennial host of Stanley Cup Playoffs, the arena has hosted numerous college championships since its opening in 2012. Over the past two years, PPG Paints Arena – its event staff and LOC members – showed the flexibility and expertise needed to truly be a multi-sport event city.

In 2018, the arena was a site of the first and second rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Duquesne University has hosted the event three times since 2012 with the fourth turn in 2022.

The following March, 330 of the country’s top collegiate wrestlers competed in the 2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. Under the direction of the University of Pittsburgh and SportsPITTSBURGH, the Championships recorded one of the largest attendance records for a Pittsburgh college event.

Nine months later, Pittsburgh crowned the champions of NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball. Duquesne University, once again, combined its staff and resources with SportsPITTSBURGH to provide a once-in-alifetime experience for the nation’s top-four women’s teams.

The home ice will have its day in the college spotlight when the NCAA joins with Robert Morris University and SportsPITTSBURGH to host the 2021 Division I Men’s Frozen Four at PPG Paints Arena.

I can go on-and-on about the great facilities within our region that complement PPG Paints Arena. Duquesne University is constructing the new home of men’s and women’s basketball and the athletic department, UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse. Three