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Marlborough Looks to Win Big With Sports Business

December 17, 2010 – Seeking to further capitalize on a booming sports business in the city, hotel and restaurant owners met yesterday at the New England Sports Center to drop the puck on a coordinated effort.

“It’s about keeping the revenue local – being successful here,” said Richard Tomanek, general manager of the Embassy Suites, who led the discussion with about 50 businesspeople.

Business leaders are looking for greater coordination among the city’s hotels, restaurants and sports facilities.

“We want to work with you to promote your businesses,” City Council President Arthur Vigeant told the group. “If you do well, we do well.”

Tomanek touted the success of New England Sports Center, a six-rink facility on Donald Lynch Boulevard that draws local, national and international athletes. For example, a Mexican figure skating team once practiced at the facility and stayed in the area the whole summer.

“It literally is a global economy when it comes to the New England Sports Center,” Tomanek said.

The facility’s visitors are expected to translate into about 37,500 hotel room nights in Marlborough next year.

In 2012, New England Sports Center will host the USA Hockey Girls’ and Women’s National Championships, which will feature a nationally known keynote speaker, said Wes Tuttle, the facility’s general manager.

Tom Teager, president of the Fore Kicks sports facility on Forest Street, said although he doesn’t pull in as many out-of-state teams as New England Sports Center, his facility’s hotel room nights are on the rise.

In coordination with the Massachusetts International Academy on Locke Drive, basketball players from China have recently practiced at Fore Kicks in front of college coaches.

The Special Olympics Massachusetts headquarters on Forest Street provides another opportunity for business in the city, Tomanek said.

Participants in the discussion, which was organized by the Marlborough Economic Development Corp., suggested:

* The New England Sports Center could set up a kiosk with brochures for local businesses.

* The sports facilities could offer a bag of coupons for local businesses when teams check in.

* Restaurants could drop off menus at local hotels.

Marlborough Economic Development also has started work on an area dining and entertainment guide.

“This is a great guide,” said Teager, whose business often gets questions about dining recommendations.

A junior hockey team can fill up The Diner on Lincoln Street, said Councilor Edward Clancy.

“People are looking for food,” Clancy told the group. “Don’t overlook breakfast.”

In addition, participants yesterday recommended a more centralized online presence that could link the businesses and the sports facilities.

Local leaders were buzzing about the news that Bloomberg Businessweek named Marlborough the best places in the state to raise children.

“I think this is a perfect venue to celebrate,” said Bob Kays, owner of the Prospector East Saloon.

This story originally appeared here