Shapiro Administration Opens Application Period for Sports Marketing and Tourism Program Grants

Monday, April 22, 2024

Pennsylvania is a world-class destination, with the most passionate and dedicated fanbase in the world – and Governor Josh Shapiro’s Administration is working hard to attract more marquee sporting events to the Commonwealth to drive tourism and economic growth.

SMAT has helped bring nationally known sporting events to Pennsylvania – including the 2026 World Cup, the 2025 United States Men’s Open, the 2024 United States Women’s Open, and more.

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Rick Siger announced that the application period for grants through DCED’s Sports Marketing and Tourism Program (SMAT) opened this morning, April 22 at 9:00AM EST. The application period will close on June 30 at 4:00PM EST.

The Sports Marketing and Tourism Program was created to attract high-quality, amateur, and professional sporting and e-sports events to Pennsylvania. The goal of the investment in the program is to capitalize on the influx of tourism that comes with hosting a major national or international event, which can increase sales to both large and small businesses in the surrounding area and in turn boost the regional economy, as well as improve the quality of life for residents.

“This is an exciting time for Pennsylvania as we prepare to host a number of incredibly exciting events in the coming years, including the 2026 World Cup, the 2024 USGA Women’s Open, and the 2025 USGA Men’s Open,” said Secretary Siger. “SMAT is helping to bring major events like these to the Commonwealth, providing a huge boost to our economy. With the new application period opening up, we look forward to supporting even more major sporting events here in the coming years.”

Eligible program applicants include a municipality, a local authority, a nonprofit organization, or a legal entity that meets all of the following criteria:

  • The applicant participates or plans to participate in a competitive selection process;
  • The site selection process is conducted by a Site Selection Organization not located in Pennsylvania; and
  • The applicant is seeking to secure a single year or multiyear commitment from a site selection organization to conduct high quality, amateur and professional sporting or esports events at one or more locations in Pennsylvania.

Last September, DCED announced the previous round of SMAT grant approvals, with $5 million in grant funding awarded. Recipients included Philadelphia Soccer for the 2026 World Cup in Philadelphia, the United States Golf Association (USGA) for the 2025 United States Men’s Open in Oakmont, and the 2024 United States Women’s Open in Lancaster.

Applicants can use DCED’s Electronic Single Application (ESA) to apply. For full program guidelines, visit the Sports Marketing and Tourism website.

For more information about DCED, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, X, and LinkedIn.

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Media Contact:

Penny Ickes, [email protected]

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