Governor’s Weekly Message: Celebrating Delaware’s Thriving Tourism Economy

Wilmington, DE – In a guest weekly message, Delaware Tourism Director Linda Parkowski highlights Delaware’s appeal as a welcoming destination for visitors and shares the impact of Delaware’s significant, and growing, tourism sector on employment and economic growth.

“Tourism is big business for Delaware. It’s a fact I share with people all over the state every day,” Director Parkowski said. “Since 2009 tourism employment in Delaware is up 25 percent, the industry is currently responsible for 52,000 jobs in Delaware and it now produces $3 billion a year in economic impact for the state. Delaware has a great story to share – beautiful state parks, pristine beaches, fun major festivals and events. Together we can tell that story more loudly and more effectively than ever, and that will keep Delaware moving forward.”

Every week, the Governor’s office releases a new Weekly Message in video, audio, and transcript form. The message is available on:

By email: Please contact our press team to subscribe to our press list

Transcript of the Governor’s Weekly Message: Celebrating Delaware’s Thriving Tourism Economy

Delaware moves from 10th to 5th among Bicycle Friendly States

League of American Bicyclists ranks Delaware first among northeastern states

Dover – In honor of National Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclists today released its latest Bicycle Friendly States ranking. In the sixth annual assessment, Delaware achieved a fifth place ranking nationally, while placing number one in the northeastern United States.

“People want to work and live in places they are proud to call home,” said Governor Markell.  “This shows the progress we’ve been making to expand trails and pathways, offering more connected workplaces and homes. We’re on the road to making our quality of life in Delaware #1 in the country. It’s good for families and for businesses who want to grow here.”

In 2011, Governor Markell challenged the state to harness the health, recreation and economic benefits of cycling, and increase Delaware’s ranking in the annual survey of bicycle friendly states.  In doing so, Governor Markell launched the First State Trails and Pathways Initiative; a partnership between DelDOT and DNREC for the planning and construction of new bicycling and pedestrian facilities.   The goal is to enhance existing trails and pathways by making connections that extend their reach, and to construct new ones where the opportunities are greatest.  The initiative was recognized for its significance last year by the League of American Bicyclists, when Delaware moved from 18th to 10th place in the 2012 ranking.

“Safe and accessible biking facilities are a smart transportation investment for Delaware residents looking for alternative ways to get to employment, shopping and entertainment venues,” said Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt.   “Coupled with public outreach to educate cyclists and drivers about sharing our roads, these facilities help increase the ease with which bicyclists and motorists successfully interact.  DelDOT is gratified Delaware’s efforts to better serve the bicycling community are achieving the national recognition they deserve.”

“That Delaware should be ranked number-five in the list of bicycle friendly states speaks well of the progress we are making in our effort to build better connections within our communities through the Governor’s Trails and Pathways Initiative,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “Now that Delaware has been determined to be the most bicycle friendly state east of the Mississippi, we can say that without a doubt that we are making the state a healthier, more active, more vibrant and attractive place to live, work and visit. Stay tuned as we go for number one.”

About the League of American Bicyclists

The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America’s 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visit  Learn more about the Bicycle Friendly America program at

Media contact: Elizabeth Murphy, Communications Manager, League of American Bicyclists, (202) 621-5458,

Philadelphia 76ers Acquire NBA D-League Franchise; Relocate it to Delaware and Name it the Delaware 87ers

The “Sevens” will play their home games at the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center located in Newark, Games to begin in November

PHILADELPHIA, PA. – The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that they have completed the purchase of the operating rights for a team to compete in the 17-team National Basketball Association Development League. The NBA D-League is the NBA’s only minor league. The acquired operating rights were previously held by the Utah Flash, a team that went on hiatus two seasons ago. The Philadelphia 76ers’ new NBA D-League franchise will relocate to Delaware and commence play this coming autumn for the 2013-14 NBA D-League season, which runs from November through April. The team will be known as the Delaware 87ers, and will be nicknamed the “Sevens.” It will play its games on the campus of the University of Delaware at The Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del.

“The creation of the Delaware 87ers is an important milestone in our quest to ensure that the Philadelphia 76ers are viewed in all respects to be a world-class and cutting-edge NBA franchise. We believe that the ability to own and operate our own NBA D-League affiliate will strengthen our player development and other team initiatives, and be a tremendous asset to the entire Sixers organization,” said Sixers Managing Owner Josh Harris. He continued, “We are particularly excited that we can situate the team in the welcoming, nearby state of Delaware, especially since there are so many Delawareans who already are avid 76ers fans.”

“The team name gives a great nod to our first state and brings with it lots of good luck, I assure you,” said Governor Jack Markell. “We welcome the team to Delaware where many fans await the next season ahead. We promise a hometown spirit of support as the ‘Sevens’ build a new basketball legacy for Delaware, for the region and for the sport. There will be some great games to watch here.”

“Everyone at UD is excited to welcome the Delaware Sevens to Newark,” said University of Delaware President Patrick Harker. “Having the Sevens play in the Bob Carpenter Center gives us a great opportunity to showcase the UD campus, and it gives our neighbors a fun, exciting activity they can share with their families. I know the players want to be an engaged presence in the local community, and I look forward to seeing them around town.”

The team name “87ers” was selected in recognition of Delaware’s place in United States history, as it was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on December 7, 1787. The 87ers name also is immediately evocative of the parent “76ers,” a name similarly derived from Philadelphia’s place in U.S. history with the Declaration of Independence being signed there in 1776. The 87ers team will also be nicknamed the “Sevens,” a nod to the way the parent club’s official name is often shortened to the “Sixers.”

While all 30 NBA teams have an affiliate status with an NBA D-League team, the 76ers become just the sixth NBA team with 100 percent direct ownership of its NBA D-League affiliate, joining the San Antonio Spurs (Austin Toros), Los Angeles Lakers (L.A. D-Fenders), Oklahoma City Thunder (Tulsa 66ers), Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors) and Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge).

“We’re thrilled to work with the 76ers to bring NBA D-League basketball to Newark and the state of Delaware,” said NBA D-League President Dan Reed. “Having a record 12th NBA team invest in their own NBA D-League team shows our development system for top NBA prospects is working, and highlights the league’s continued growth. We’re very excited to share our world-class brand of basketball, affordable family-friendly entertainment, and community engagement with all Delawareans.”

Adam Aron, CEO and Co-Owner of the 76ers, praised the role Delawareans played in making today’s announcement possible, “I want to thank the entire political leadership of Delaware, and especially the executives and staff of the University of Delaware, for their warm embrace of support and for the key roles that they all played in making it possible for us to bring the Sevens to Delaware. We look forward to engaging with the countless basketball fans throughout the state, as both individual fans and businesses across Delaware share with us the energy, joy and family fun that this new 87ers team will create.”

“The Sixers have recognized what we in Delaware have known for a long time – the First State has great sports fans,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware. “I look forward to catching some Sevens games at the Bob next season!”

“Sixers games have long been a great source of fun for so many Delaware families, including mine, so this really is exciting news,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware. “Delaware loves the Sixers and will undoubtedly love the Sevens. This news is a sign of the 76ers’ appreciation for their Delaware fans and of their commitment to this community. I look forward to bringing my kids to Sevens games this fall, and to further strengthening the ties between our state and this historic franchise.”

“As a lifelong Sixers fan, I’m thrilled to welcome the Sevens to our state,” said Representative John Carney of Delaware. “Delaware families can now enjoy watching professional basketball in our own backyard. This partnership is good news for Delaware, good news for the Sixers, and good news for those of us who take pride in rooting for our hometown teams.”

The team website, is live, as are social media pages on Twitter @Sevens, Facebook Delaware 87ers, Instagram @delaware87ers, YouTube Delaware 87ers, Google+ Delaware 87ers

Images of the Delaware 87ers logos are attached.

Fans can call 302-504-7587 for tickets or 302-504-7387 for general information.

The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA’s official minor league and featured 16 teams this past season all with direct affiliation to NBA franchises. In addition to players, the NBA D-League helps the NBA develop coaches, referees and front office staff. The NBA D-League season is comprised of 50 regular season games, along with a postseason, and runs from November through April.

The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the elite franchises in the National Basketball Association and have achieved the third most wins in league history, as well as the third most playoff appearances of any team in the NBA along with three World Championships. Some of the greatest players ever to play the game have appeared in a 76ers uniform. The Philadelphia 76ers are owned by an investor syndicate led by prominent financier Joshua Harris and play home games in Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.

The Delaware 87ers of the National Basketball Association Development League (NBADL) were relocated to America’s first state in 2013 and named to commemorate the year in which Delaware ratified the U.S. Constitution, 1787. The Sevens are the NBADL affiliate of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, and are owned by the Sixers. The 87ers play at the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del.

For more information, please contact Sixers Public Relations at 215-339-7666.


Video from today’s event is available:

Score one for Kent County – sports complex funding gains approval

Infrastructure committee approves more than $3.2 million for project with $18 million projected economic impact

Dover, Del. (July 17, 2012) – After three years of meetings and debate, Kent County will be home to a sports complex boasting an indoor facility and 15 fields – including a championship lit turf field – thanks to more than $3.2 million in state funding.

The Greater Dover Committee and Kent County Levy Court resubmitted their application before the Delaware Infrastructure Investment Committee Tuesday in Dover to have the complex built on a parcel of county-donated land near Frederica. Committee members stated that their application qualified for the New Jobs Infrastructure Fund because it created a projected economic impact of more than $18 million annually and the creation of 302 jobs in Kent County.

Unlike previous meetings, Tuesday’s session flew by, lasting less than an hour, as both sides came to a quick agreement that this project was a viable one for Delaware.

“This will provide the state with the infrastructure needed to compete for more sports tourism – already a $2.1 billion industry in Delaware,” said Alan Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office. “We’re excited about what this means for the future of Kent County and the state as a whole – this will be a big plus for economic development.”

Bill Strickland, president of the Greater Dover Committee, has been championing the complex – which will host mainly soccer, lacrosse and field hockey events and could draw up to 10 major annual sports tournaments – for the past three years.

He said the next step was to continue to develop and finalize the funding and to get started on construction of the outdoor fields, which he joked would begin “this afternoon.”

“We are ecstatic that the committee saw the merit in the economic development potential of the Kent County Regional Complex Association,” Strickland said. “I can’t overstate how appreciative we are of the broad-based support that we’ve received from both our public and private leadership to continue to advance this project.”

Sen. Brian Bushweller (D-Dover) has also been a big supporter of the project, rallying key figures and bringing them together – many officials present agreed that approval of the complex was a “team effort.”

Bushweller said 302 jobs in Kent County is a “huge number.”

“The whole objective of the complex is to create economic activity to bring jobs to our county,” Bushweller said. “But in addition to creating these jobs, this project is going to draw more people to Kent County and thus expose them to the recreational opportunities we have here, and the tourist attractions we have here, and to other economic development opportunities.”

The Delaware Tourism Office, 99 Kings Highway in Dover, Del., a division of the Delaware Economic Development Office, promotes tourism and economic growth in Delaware.  For more information, visit the official Delaware Tourism website at or call toll-free (866) 284-7483.


Media Contact:
Peter Bothum
Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator
State of Delaware
302-672-6813 (office)
302-632-6665 (cell)

Firefly Music Festival set to make Delaware’s economy glow

Dover, Del. (July 12, 2012) – A crew from the Delaware Tourism Office toured the site of the Firefly Music Festival Thursday, and what they saw was jaw-dropping – an area near Dover International Speedway that was trees and grass is now fitted with vendor tents, staging areas, gravel roads, hammock stations, portable restrooms and an entrance with a huge sign that reads “Firefly.”

“To have the vision to take the woods and transform it into a mini-Woodstock is pretty amazing,” Delaware Tourism Director Linda Parkowski said while surveying the area.

Firefly takes place July 20-22 at this sprawling sea of green, renamed The Woodlands. Headliners at the rock festival, run by Red Frog Events, include big-name acts such as Jack White, the Black Keys, the Flaming Lips, OK Go, John Legend, The Killers and Death Cab For Cutie.

“We’re talking about a whole festival of acts that have been or could be on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ any of the late night talk shows or even the cover of Rolling Stone,” Parkowski said.

Parkowski said the heart of Delaware will see a double dose of cash and visitor influx next week, as Firefly will bring roughly 30,000-40,000 people daily to the Dover area, and the Delaware State Fair, which runs July 19-28, will bring about 35,000 daily to the Harrington area. The Firefly festival alone is expected to generate $12.6 million in revenue, Parkowski said. Firefly crews have already been spotted buying up supplies at local stores.

“The whole state will actually get a little bit of this economic infusion, because hotels in all three counties are booking up thanks to Firefly,” Parkowski said.

Music fans from 48 of the 50 states will attend the festival, and hotel reservations and chatter on social media suggest that they might extend their stay beyond the weekend. While five-star beaches in Rehoboth and Dewey will be among the top destinations, there are other attractions as well, Parkowski said. The Delaware Tourism Office’s Delaware Wine and Ale Trail offers a trip to 12 breweries and wineries offering the best suds and wines that the First State has to offer, including Dogfish Head – the official beer of Firefly. There’s also the Delaware History Trail, which includes 36 noteworthy sites throughout the state.

“We’re hoping the music fans who come to the festival get here early and stay a little longer after it’s over,” Parkowski said.

The Delaware Tourism Office, 99 Kings Highway in Dover, Del., a division of the Delaware Economic Development Office, promotes tourism and economic growth in Delaware.  For more information, visit the official Delaware Tourism website at or call toll-free (866) 284-7483.


Click here to watch a video featuring footage from the grounds of the Firefly Music Festival

Peter Bothum
Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator
State of Delaware
302-672-6813 (office)
302-632-6665 (cell)