Drone Racing League selects Fitchburg and North Central Massachusetts as site for 2017 Allianz World Championship Race

27 Apr


North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce



Date:               April 27, 2017


Contact: Roy Nascimento, President & CEO

North Central Massachusetts Chamber

Telephone: 978.353.7604 ext. 225


Drone Racing League selects Fitchburg and North Central Massachusetts

as site for 2017 Allianz World Championship Race


The Johnny Appleseed Trail Association, the tourism arm of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Fitchburg are pleased to announce that Fitchburg and North Central Massachusetts have been selected by the Drone Racing League (DRL) as the official New England site of one of its six 2017 Allianz World Championship races that culminate in a winner-take-all World Championship event.


“It’s very exciting that Fitchburg was selected by DRL to host their 2017 drone racing series”, said Mayor Stephen DiNatale.  “This selection is testament to the strong partnerships that we have in place here in North Central Massachusetts and our region’s strengths in the robotics and video gaming industries.”


“Securing the DRL race is significant for North Central Massachusetts,” said Roy Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association. “Not only will the region benefit from the direct economic impact of hosting the race, but this will also showcase North Central Massachusetts to national and global audiences as a great place to host or grow a business.”


DRL discovered the Fitchburg site after meeting with the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association at a national trade show for sporting events. North Central Massachusetts is an emerging sports tourism location, so strategic investments have been made to attract events and exhibitions in this region. DRL and the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association worked closely with the site selection team to find the right space for their New England race.


“We looked around aggressively for a community to host our New England race site,” said Ashley Ellefson, Director Operations for DRL. “Fitchburg was the ideal location and the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber and the City of Fitchburg were all amazing in support of our efforts.”


The Championship series will include six races to test piloting skill and the limits of FPV (First Person View) flight. The races will begin airing on premier broadcast channels, including ESPN, ESPN 2, Sky Sports Mix and 7Sports in more than 75 countries, in June 2017. Each DRL race features 16 of the world’s greatest drone pilots flying DRL’s custom designed racing drone at speeds above 90 MPH through one-of-a-kind, three-dimensional racecourses in venues around the world. The Championship races are an elimination style competition that culminates in a world championship and the crowning of the World’s Greatest Drone Pilot.


Given its rapidly growing worldwide audience, the biggest benefit of securing the DRL race will be the national and global exposure for Fitchburg and the region. DRL’s first season reached millions of fans around the world, including more than 30 million broadcast viewers and more than 43 million views of its digital content. The region will also benefit from the hotel rooms booked for staff and media, and the new direct spending in the region by the visitors associated with DRL. Since drone racing also incorporates robotics and gaming, there are also possible educational opportunities for local students involved at the gaming program at Fitchburg State University and at Mount Wachusett Community College.


The Drone Racing League (DRL) launched in January 2016 as the only global professional drone racing organization, hosting five professional races in its inaugural season. Founded in 2015 by Nicholas Horbaczewski, a former executive with the Tough Mudder race series, DRL has quickly gained the reputation as the new “sport of the future” with its rapidly growing worldwide audience. The technology company is financially backed by investors including RSE Ventures, Lux Capital, Sky, MGM, Hearst Ventures, and CAA Ventures. DRL has also secured sponsorships from major national brands including Bud Light and leading global insurance brand, Allianz.


DRL joins a growing list of companies that have recently selected North Central Massachusetts, including Great Wolf Lodge that selected Fitchburg for its New England location; AIS that recently moved its operation to Leominster; Nypro that chose Devens for the expansion of its medical device manufacturing operations; and most recently the developers of Game On Fitchburg that selected West Fitchburg as the site of their major indoor sports complex scheduled to open in 2018.  North Central Massachusetts also recently received national recognition for its efforts by industry professionals who plan sporting events.



About the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce (northcentralmass.com) is a business advocacy, economic development organization working to create and sustain relationships among businesses and between businesses and the community. With 1000 member firms, employing over 25,000 people in the region, the Chamber is working to foster economic opportunity in Fitchburg, Leominster, and surrounding communities.  Find the Chamber online at northcentralmass.com or on Twitter at @NCMChamber.


About Johnny Appleseed Trail Association

The Johnny Appleseed Trail Association (JATA) is the official designated Regional Tourism Council serving the 26 cities and towns of North Central Massachusetts. One of the sixteen Massachusetts Regional Tourism Councils, the organization’s primary mission is to educate the traveling public, tourists, and residents of North Central Massachusetts about the many historical, cultural, and hospitality related sites within this scenic New England Region. Through this mission JATA works collectively with local attractions, hospitality businesses and local communities to market the North Central region as a destination and provide information and services to the traveling public. The North Central Massachusetts region is comprised of the communities of Ashburnham, Ashby, Athol, Ayer, Barre, Bolton, Clinton, Devns, Fitchburg, Gardner, Groton, Harvard, Hubbardston, Lancaster, Leominster, Lunenburg, Pepperell, Petersham, Phillipston, Princeton, Royalston, Shirley, Sterling, Templeton, Townsend, Westminster, and Winchendon. For more information about the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association please visit www.appleseed.org or call 978.353.7604.

Massachusetts Wins Bids to Host Seven NCAA National and Regional Sports Championships

19 Apr

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                            Contact: Michael Quinlin

April 19, 2017                                                                                                     (617) 973-8503


Massachusetts Wins Bids to Host Seven NCAA National and Regional Sports Championships

Sports Define the Bay State and Support the Economy


Boston– The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has awarded seven national and regional championships to Massachusetts colleges, sports organizations and facilities to host events taking place in 2018-2022.   The NCAA’s year-long, competitive bid process included 3,000+ bids to host 600+ events from across the nation.

Massachusetts submitted over 30 bids, winning four NCAA Championships and three Regional Championship events. Locally, the Massachusetts Sports Marketing Office collaborated with participating institutions to submit a “Team Massachusetts” bid outlining a five-year plan for the Commonwealth to host these events.


Here are the winning Massachusetts bids:



  • Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Regional Championship hosted by Holy Cross at the DCU Center


  • Division III Indoor Men’s & Women’s  Track & Field Championship hosted by UMass Boston at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center


  • Women’s Ice Hockey Championship hosted by Boston University at Agganis Arena
  • Division I Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Regional Championships hosted by Boston College at Franklin Park


  • Division I Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Regional Championships hosted by Boston College at Franklin Park


  • Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championships Frozen Four hosted by Hockey East at TD Garden
  • Division III Indoor Men’s & Women’s Track & Field Championship hosted by UMass Boston at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center.


“The NCAA events will provide an economic boost to Massachusetts, especially through direct spending at hotels, restaurants and tourism sites,” said Nam Pham, Assistant Secretary of Business Development and International Trade. “They also showcase the state’s robust sports community, world-class facilities and appreciative fan base, helping us brand Massachusetts as a premier sports destination.”

“We look forward to welcoming athletes and sports fans from across the nation to Massachusetts over the next five years,” said Francois Laurent-Nivaud, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT).  “Our tourism and hospitality industry stands ready to give visitors a memorial Massachusetts experience.”

Massachusetts has hosted over 60 NCAA Regional and National Championships in the past 20 years, according to Massachusetts Sports Marketing Office Director Shannah McArdle.

“Our goal is to attract marquee sporting events to Massachusetts year-round,” said McArdle. “We are honored that the NCAA has chosen Massachusetts to host these great sporting events, and congratulate the colleges and sports facilities for winning these competitive bids.”

In addition to the NCAA bid awards just announced, Massachusetts is hosting several other NCAA events in 2017.   This spring, the Division III Men’s Volleyball Championship takes place on April 28-30 at Springfield College’s Blake Arena.  Massachusetts Maritime Academy hosts the 2017 NCAA Division III Baseball Regional Championship on May 17-21 at Whitehouse Field in Harwich, Cape Cod.  On May 26-29, Harvard University and Gillette Stadium co-host the 2017 Lacrosse Championships in Foxborough.  Gillette Stadium is the first venue ever to host the Men’s and Women’s Championships in the same year.

In 2018, Harvard University and Gillette Stadium will again host the Men’s Lacrosse Championships, while Holy Cross and the DCU Center will host the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Regional Championship, and Boston College and TD Garden will host the Division I Men’s Basketball Regional Championship.

Massachusetts attracted 25 million domestic and 2.5 million international travelers in 2015, according to MOTT.  Visitors spent $20.2 billion on lodging, meals, cultural and recreational attractions, transportation and retail.  This direct spending generated $1.3 billion in state and local taxes, and supplied over 135,000 jobs in Massachusetts. For more information on visiting Massachusetts, go to massvacation.com.

The Massachusetts Sports Marketing Office works year round to strengthen the state’s sports community by bringing in world-class sporting events.   For more information, visit masportsoffice.com.




4 Apr


The Boston Marathon, one of the most iconic sporting events in the world, is also a significant driver of the Massachusetts economy, bringing an estimated $192.2 million in spending impacts to the region, according to the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Now in its 121st year, the Boston Marathon starts in Hopkinton, travels through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton and Brookline before ending at Copley Square in Boston’s Back Bay.

Bureau President and CEO Pat Moscaritolo said, “The Boston Marathon and its related events provide an extraordinary kick start for our visitor season. The Boston Marathon is the premier and most beloved event in our city, and region and our community looks forward each year to welcoming runners and media from around the world.”

Race officials from the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) estimate 30,000 runners will official participate in the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17, and 10,000 runners in the B.A.A. 5K race and other local activities. In addition, 1,000 members of the media from 200 outlets are covering this year’s race.

Nam Pham, Assistant Secretary of Business Development and International Trade, said, “The Boston Marathon benefits hundreds of small businesses, who welcome the runners and spectators from 99 countries and all fifty states along the 26.2 mile route. In addition, the global media coverage of the race sheds a positive spotlight on Massachusetts as a place to live, visit, study, or start a business.”

Tom Grilk, Chief Executive Officer of the B.A.A., said, “Nearly everyone involved in the events of the week – from 40,000 athletes in the Boston Marathon and B.A.A. 5K, to the hundreds of thousands of spectators that line the course, and more than 9,500 volunteers – will patronize local businesses throughout Greater Boston.”

Last year, the 2016 Boston Marathon generated $188.8 million (USD) and had an entry field of 30,816 athletes.

Shannah McArdle, Director of the Massachusetts Sports Marketing Office, said, “Massachusetts is rightly hailed as the state of champions, given its longstanding athletic success in amateur, collegiate and professional sports. The Boston Marathon strengthens our marketing brand and attracts other sporting events to come to Massachusetts.”

For an insider’s view of the Boston Marathon, read this profile on Race Director Dave McGillivray in MassFinds.

For more information on the B.A.A., please visit baa.org.

Find out about visiting Massachusetts at massvacation.com