Derby Field

After 147 Kentucky Derbys, Louisville Knows Sports

Karl Schmitt elevated to president and CEO of Louisville Sports Commission

October 13, 2015 – Louisville, Ky. – The Louisville Sports Commission (LSC) today announced the elevation of Karl Schmitt to president and CEO from his previous position as executive director. Schmitt took over as the LSC’s interim executive director in July 2009 and was named to that position on a permanent basis in January 2010. The executive committee of LSC’s Board of Directors made the announcement.

During Schmitt’s tenure, annual hotel room night attraction in the sports market segment has increased dramatically and sports now is one of the top producers in inbound travel to Louisville. In this same time period, the LSC has grown the number of owned and operated events from one to seven: the Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic; the Legends Open; a three-race running series comprised of the Louisville pure tap® 5K, Norton Sports Health Great Pumpkin 10K, Urban Bourbon Half Marathon; the Paul Hornung Award; and the Derby City Cup cyclocross races.

In addition, Schmitt has guided the LSC’s increased emphasis on healthy lifestyle initiatives by creating participatory events for youth and adults, such as the Kids Finish First program, which was developed in partnership with the Louisville YMCA and is designed to introduce kids to a healthy, active lifestyle through running. The LSC also has increased its emphasis on creating and improving facilities that leave a legacy with local sports user groups.

“The vote of confidence by the leadership of our board of directors is much appreciated,” Schmitt said.  “This move is more about the performance of our team at the Sports Commission than it is about the accomplishments of one person. I am honored to lead such a strong group of professionals as we continue on a path of attracting, hosting and owning even more great sporting events.”

Since its founding in 1999, the LSC has supported more than 650 sporting events in the Louisville area generating an economic impact of nearly $500 million. The LSC has been the driving force behind major sporting events such as the Senior Games, the IRONMAN Louisville, the UCI World Cyclocross Championships, and a partner in attracting multiple NCAA regional and national championships at all division levels including 23 national championships during the past six years. The LSC works in partnership with the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Kentucky State Fair Board, the University of Louisville, Bellarmine University, Spalding University, Louisville Metro government, and other government agencies and local organizations to successfully attract and host a wide-range of sporting events.