Innovators & Influencers — a destination marketing organization (DMO) deserving of a spotlight and applause. This special edition of Innovators & Influencers features Visit South Bend Mishawaka. The DMO’s mission includes positioning the destination to increase both the number of visitors and reasons to visit the communities. 

To hear about one of the new reasons visitors are coming (hint, it starts with “e” and ends with “sports”), we spoke with Nick Kleva, sports tourism manager. The new Bendix Esports Arena was completed just over a year ago. It’s already a fan favorite, ranked second in esports facilities fan favorites by SportsEvents.

With esports viewing seeing double-digit growth year over year, South Bend is in a great position to capture some of those viewers. The arena, located in downtown South Bend inside the convention center, is 6,000 square feet, features theater seating for 500-plus, and is capable of hosting regional and national esports events. It includes a 36-PC gaming center, Nintendo and Xbox gaming stations.

To hear about another destination with an esports initiative, check out Waterloo Regions sports office expands focus to include esports, a Future of Tourism podcast hosted by David Peacock.