By TONY TAGLAVORE, Journal Sports
Kelly Wells, longtime executive director of the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission and a 21-year employee of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, is no longer with either organization.
Wells was notified Wednesday that his position was being eliminated.
“I thought I would retire doing this,” Wells told The Journal Thursday. “I have enjoyed my time with the Sports Commission—setting it up with the tourist bureau, two cities, and two parishes,” Wells said.
Under Wells’ direction, the Commission has been responsible for bringing sporting events to the area in an effort to boost tourism. The Commission is a division of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau.
Thursday morning, The Journal first reported the change in leadership via its Facebook and Twitter accounts. Thursday afternoon, the SBCTB issued a press release, which explained the move was made following an outside firm’s “assessment of the organizational structure of both the SBCTB and the Commission.”
“The Sports Commission was originally designed to utilize the full strength of the bureau, but in recent years, had become more separated,” said SBCTB President Stacy Brown. “This new structure will help us further (grow) the sports market in a more strategic, efficient, and integrated way.”
Brown said the assessment determined it would be beneficial for the Commission to use the entire bureau staff to bring sporting events to the area — not just the personnel assigned to sports. Brown also told the Journal the restructuring of the Commission will not change the Commission’s mission.
“The duties will be spread out,” Brown later told The Journal. “One of the benefits of bringing it all back together is using the expertise of the marketing department, and conventions, and sports all working more closely together. The commission always has and always will go after sporting events in a major way. This really doesn’t change the way we do sports. It’s just really bringing more people into actively working on it.”
Wells said he will look back favorably on his time leading the Commission.
“I treasure the last 12 years of seeing it grow year-over-year. There is no better destination to promote than our two cities and two parishes.”
Brown, who has been SBCTB President for more than 20 years, worked with Wells the majority of that time.
“Any time you part ways with someone you work with for a number of years, yes, it is difficult,” Brown told The Journal.
Perhaps the most popular event brought to Shreveport-Bossier in part by the Commission was the Bassmaster Classic, staged locally in 2009 and 2012. The 2009 Classic set what was then an attendance record with 137,700 fishing enthusiasts. Recently, USA Volleyball and USA Boxing conducted their championships in Shreveport-Bossier.
A wide array of unaffiliated events such as baseball and softball tournaments and various other sports competitions have been held with the help of the Commission under Wells’ leadership.
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