The Influentials: Dan Gilbert

President and CEO, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission

We love sports. So does David Gilbert. That’s why he has spent the past nine years building the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission into a mechanism for boosting the local economy. The organization has drawn more than 50 amateur-level sporting events to the city since 2000, which have injected millions of dollars into the local economy. Gilbert scored an early victory in 2001, when he brought more than 1,000 athletes to the city for the U.S. Taekwondo National Championships. The U.S. Gymnastics National Championships followed a year later, drawing 35,000 spectators and having a $5.1 million economic impact. The testament to Gilbert’s success is that hosting these sorts of events has become almost commonplace now. By the time the NCAA Women’s Final Four came to Quicken Loans Arena last year, it just felt right to be hosting such a high-profile event. And Gilbert always has his eye to the future. In March, he won Cleveland the right to host the 2013 Senior Games, the largest multiple-sport event in the world for people age 50 and older.

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