The Delaware Sports League guy wants to make Delaware an events hotspot

Bob Downing is trying to get a Volleywood Beach Bash to Delaware beaches next summer. And that's not all.

Bob Downing, the founder and CEO of Delaware Sports League, is ready for big-time active entertainment events in Delaware. (Photo by Lindsay Podraza)

Remember the WipeoutRun at the Riverfront in June? The Tumble Tubes, the Sweeper, and of course, the Big Balls?
The reason WipeoutRun, which attracted thousands, decided to make a stop in Delaware was in large part because of Delaware Sports League founder and CEO Bob Downing. And Downing, who recently moved Delaware Sports League to 1313 Innovation, is determined to put Delaware on the map for more big “active entertainment events.”
Doing so hasn’t been easy, he said. The uncomfortable reality is that Delaware, the small state nestled amidst most of the east coast’s major cities, isn’t widely perceived as a hot destination. But, the runaway success of Red Frog Events’ Firefly Music Festival has helped prove Delaware is a worthy event site, Downing said. And scoring WipeoutRun was a big deal for the First State, he said, admitting that he initially sweated the outcome.

The 2014 Firefly Music Festival in Dover.

The 2014 Firefly Music Festival in Dover. (Photo by Rachel DiPento)

“We have plenty to learn in this state, and Firefly has done a lot to push us forward, and also the folks at the Dover International Speedway,” he said.
But Downing still wants to see more high-quality, large-scale events in Delaware, like the Tough Mudder or the Spartan Race.
For September 2016, he’s gunning for Volleywood Beach Bash and Tournament to come to Delaware’s shores. Previous performers at the beach volleyball tourney have included the Backstreet Boys, Jason Derulo and Ja Rule, he said.
“We can’t be scared of trying to do big things — not like ‘kind of’ big things where you get Third Eye Blind to play half a set — I’m talking about getting out and not being scared to put a party in a place that’s never been done before and get a D.J. or artist of value,” Downing said.
For now, he’s hoping to partner with other local groups to help entice such events that “break the mold,” saying that they are good for the local economy and for also making the area more attractive to millenials.

Companies: 1313 Innovation

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