Delaware Public Media

DE Turf: They built it. Did people come?

Feb 9, 2018

The long awaited DE Turf sports complex finally opened last year in Frederica.

It was billed as a venue that would drive tourism to the First State by hosting a wide variety of sports tournaments on its 12 artificial turf fields – bringing athletes and their families to Delaware stay at hotels and spend their money.

Nearly a year later, we check in with DE Turf Executive Director Chris Giacomucci to see how well the facility is delivering on that promise.


Delaware tourism officials say the multi-purpose sports complex DE Turf in Frederica is helping to drive the local economy.

In its first year, DE Turf hosted 20 events drawing more than 40,000 visitors. Visiting teams booked 2,845 hotel rooms in the area, resulting in $333,189 hotel revenue in addition to money spent at restaurants and area businesses.

Officials say DE Turf contributed to a 2.6% increase in hotel occupancy in Kent County for 2017.

Kent County Tourism President Wendy Vestfall says the facility is meeting expectations as an economic driver in Kent and elsewhere.

“It’s not only beneficial to Kent County but actually beneficial to the state—especially Milford. There are some hotels in Milford, so they have seen huge increases of people staying at those hotels,” said Vestfall.

The sports complex will host even more events this year. 50 are scheduled currently, including the U.S. Youth Lacrosse Nationals which will bring 90 teams from across the country to the First State.

Vestfall says sports tourism is a desirable market because it often brings entire families.

“Mom is taking them to the mall so they’re spending money on retail. They’re spending money on food. They’re filling up their gas tank to go home,” said Vestfall.

Vestfall says sports tourism is a $9 billion a year industry nationwide.

DE Turf is expected to consistently pump $18 million into the local economy each year, according to a study done before it opened last April.