Nike New England Winterfest Volleyball Tournament expected to bring 22,000 people to Hartford

The 2023 Nike New England Winterfest Volleyball Tournament kicks off on Jan. 7.
The 2023 Nike New England Winterfest Volleyball Tournament kicks off on Jan. 7.(Nike New England Winterfest Volleyball Tournament)
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 11:06 AM EST
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Organizers of a major volleyball tournament in Hartford expect it to draw more than 22,000 people over the next three weekends.

The Nike New England Winterfest Volleyball tournament kicks off at the Connecticut Convention Center on Saturday, Jan. 7.

Six thousand five hundred youth volleyball players from 590 teams plan to compete over the course of the event.

“Two years ago, we expanded the tournament this year to three weekends, and we still are waitlisting teams,” said Roxann Link, junior commissioner of the New England Region Volleyball Association, Inc. “It is an exciting spectator event where families come to cheer on their volleyball-playing daughters and sons. Since the Northeast has one of the largest concentrations of Collegiate Division II and Division III schools in the nation, with lots of NAIA schools here as well, we expect many college recruiting coordinators to come and scout the athletes. Players will compete on 28 courts in the exhibit halls of the Connecticut Convention Center with 12 matches per court most days, each lasting approximately one hour.”

The event is expected to draw in a significant amount of revenue for the capital city.

“This annual tournament is a great economic boost for the Greater Hartford region,” said Robert Murdock, president of the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau. “The dynamic event is expected to generate approximately $6.84 Million in revenue over its three weekends as visitors stay in over 30 area hotels, dine in local restaurants, shop in the region, and enjoy nearby attractions.”

Murdock reported that an estimated 2,240 jobs in the region’s hospitality industry will be supported by the event, and more than $462,000 in Connecticut taxes will be generated.

During the tournament’s first weekend, Jan. 7 to Jan. 8, organizers said they will welcome more than 1,200 athletes from 117 teams, each with 10 to 12 players. They’ll compete in two age group divisions for girls age 16, and in seven age divisions for boys ages 14 to 18.

At the largest of the three weekends on the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, from Jan. 14 through Jan. 16, more than 2,500 female athletes on 238 teams, ages 16 to 18, will compete in Open/USA/America/Club competition.

On the final weekend, Jan. 21 and Jan. 22, organizers said they will welcome a little more than 2,500 female athletes from 235 teams of 10 to 12 players, ages 12 to 18 in 11 age group divisions.

Admission passes for athletes can be bought from www.SportsWrench.com.

Admission information for spectators can be found here.