Youth & Amateur Sports Grant Program
and Michael Erin Busch Fund
The Youth and Amateur Sports Grants Program (the “Program”) is administered by the Maryland Sports Office (dba Maryland Sports Commission) (“Maryland Sports”) within the Maryland Stadium Authority (“MSA”). The purpose of the Program is to provide grants to bring new youth and amateur sporting events to Maryland, as well as maintain and enhance annual sporting tourism events and attract sports fans, participants, and tourists. The focus is support of high quality youth and amateur sporting events that benefit Maryland’s economy and satisfy the criteria set forth below.
Grant funds are provided through the Michael Erin Busch Fund established by House Bill 1659 (2020 Regular Session) and enrolled as Chapter 33 by the Acts of 2022. Funds will be available beginning in fiscal year 2022 and available to non-profit (i) sports event rights holders; (ii) National Governing Bodies (“NGBs”); and (iii) sport tourism related organizations to support and conduct amateur sporting events such as games, exhibitions, tournaments, and other sports competition-related events which are planned, presented, promoted, and hosted in Maryland.
II. Event Eligibility
A. Sporting events must meet one or more of the following to be considered for a grant:
- Provide and grow youth sports opportunities and participation through sporting events with a least 750 participants and 1,500 spectators;
- Make a positive economic impact on the State’s economy;
- Increase spending by out-of-state visitors by at least $100,000 in direct spending based upon the Maryland Sports Competitive Amateur Sports Survey Analysis;
- Generate media coverage and exposure that reflects the value of sport tourism to Maryland;
- Create or provide a quality of life opportunity for Marylanders; and/or
- Generate hotel stays from participants and spectators of at least 500 rooms for at least one overnight stay.
B. Event location
Must be held in a Maryland County or by a Maryland Destination Marketing Organization recognized by the Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations. Events may not cross into other States or districts unless expressly authorized by Maryland Sports in writing in advance of the Program grant application.
III. Grantee Eligibility
A. To be eligible for consideration of a grant, applicants must satisfy the following requirements:
1. Nonprofit organization connection
- Provide its IRS determination letter as proof of its tax-exempt status under either § 501(c)(3) or § 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code.
- A for-profit organization must have a non-profit partner at the time of application and the grant would be issued to them jointly.
2. Bid Process
- If the applicant is participating in a formal bid process, it must have a letter of support or endorsement from Maryland Sports for inclusion in the bid.
- A letter of recognition is not a guarantee of grant funding.
3. TEAM Maryland
- County applicants must at minimum be a base level partner of the TEAM Maryland initiative.
4. Sport Event and Tourism Association (“Sports ETA”)
- Event Rights Holders, Event Owners and NGBs must be members in good standing with the or be affiliated with a member in good standing.
5. Maryland based organizations
- Must be in good standing with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. To check status go to: https://egov.maryland.gov/BusinessExpress/EntitySearch
B. General grant conditions
1. Request & Award parameters
- Minimum grant award/request is $2,500
- Maximum grant award is $75,000 per event*
- If $75,000 or more is awarded
- to one organization, MSA board approval is required
- to an event, MSA board approval is required
- No more than 30% of the event’s budget may be paid with grant funds.
2. Grantee must demonstrate one or more of the following:
- Financial support from a county either in cash or in-kind equivalent
- Cash financial support from a local sports commission, convention and visitors bureau, or another municipal organization
- Has raised at least of the estimated budget costs from private sources
- Financially solvent
3. Completion of the grant application on the form provided by Maryland Sports including all required documents and attachments and proposed budget.
4. Successful applicants will be required to execute a Grant Agreement and comply with the terms and conditions set forth therein.
- Successful applicants will be required to designate individuals who will execute the grant agreement (signee and cosigner) upon award. Signed grant agreement is required for distribution of grant funds.
IV. Use of Grant Funds
A. Eligible Uses
The following are examples of eligible uses of grant funds. The list is not intended to be exhaustive. Maryland Sports has final approval and will review applicants’ grant applications and budgets on a case by case basis.
1. Hosting Expenses.
- Subject to the State of Maryland’s travel expense per diem regulations, expenses associated with housing of officials or event personnel.
2. Promotions and Marketing.
- Website (i.e. event website, micro-site developing, and updates as appropriate), printed materials, networking (includes all digital platforms and traditional print media, radio, and television).
- Branding and media tied to hosting events.
3. Bid Fees
- Rights, bid and/or sanction fees if shown as a direct correlation to approved budgeted category for the event. Or in a official bidding document or contract
4. Site Fees, Costs and Event Production.
- Field or venue rental costs
- Opening and closing ceremonies related expenses
- Equipment rentals
- Facility enhancements required to host the event
- Other related event expenses
B. Ineligible Uses.
The following are examples of ineligible uses of grant funds. The list is not intended to be exhaustive. Maryland Sports has final approval and will review applicants’ grant applications and budgets on a case by case basis.
- General operating or administrative expenses including staff, officials, and travel to solicit events.
- Building, renovating, or remodeling a facility.
- Purchase of permanent equipment or fixtures.
- Reimbursement of costs incurred prior to the award of the grant unless included in the event budget and approved by Maryland Sports.
- Printed program which solicits advertising.
Off-site hospitality or social functions.
- Expenses of any team or organization traveling outside of the event jurisdiction to compete.
V. Application Review and Considerations
A. Award Considerations
1. To the extent practicable, the Maryland Sports shall make awards that reflect:
- The geographical diversity of the State
- Sports programs that are gender specific and nonspecific
- Diverse types of sports
- Adaptive sports
2. Applications that attract new sporting events may be given higher priority for award
3. Economic impact and visitor spending
4. Event area and venues
5. Growth of youth sports opportunities and attraction of new events
6. Media exposure
7. The Maryland Sports reserves the right to make exceptions to any requirement set forth herein if, in its judgment, an event is unique and beneficial to Maryland’s economy or the quality of life for Marylanders.
8. Events that encompass multiple in-State jurisdictions or venues will be reviewed prior to single jurisdiction or venue events.
B. Application Submission Procedures
See “How to Apply“
VI. Funding Availability
A. Funding Round
1. Funding is awarded on a fiscal year basis, July 1, 20XX- June 30, 20XX.
2. Maryland Sports may award grants for special events outside of normal funding rounds if unusual or extenuating circumstances exist and funds are still available.
3. Maryland Sports may award grant funding in excess of $75,000 with the approval of the MSA Board of Directors.
B. Grant Disbursement/Requirements.
1. No amount of grant funds will be disbursed until the completion and execution of the grant agreement and required affidavits.
2. Generally, seventy-five percent (75%) of approved expenditures to be paid from grant funds will be disbursed prior to the event. Exceptions are made on a case by case basis and up to Maryland Sports discretion.
3. The remaining twenty-five percent (25%) of approved expenditures to be paid from grant funds will be disbursed following the end of the event and upon Grantee’s:
- No more than 45 days following conclusion of the event, submission of a Post Event Reimbursement Report that includes complete and accurate accounting of the event’s financial activity and approved by Maryland Sports;
- Providing all invoices, receipts and copies of canceled checks, and credit card statements for payment of all approved expenses up to the amount of the approved grant allocation and any other local, organizational, or private funding. All invoices and canceled checks must be in the name of the grantee
- To expedite final payout, order all receipts in a document (ie Excel). See Tips for details
- Submission of economic impact data based on criteria established by the Maryland Sports’ economic consultant Crossroads Consulting; and
- Providing photos, videos, and social and traditional media coverage of any Maryland Sports sponsorship signage or acknowledgment at the event.