NASC Board of Directors Meets for Summer Retreat

July 22, 2014

Membership services and professional development were two of the main topics covered at the 2014 National Association of Sports Commissions Board of Directors Summer Retreat, held July 16-18 at the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s office in downtown Indianapolis.

The meeting is the yearly opportunity for the Board to discuss topics that affect the long-term growth and viability of the NASC, and how NASC can best serve its members.

“We see the summer retreat as a great way to proactively look at the issues facing the NASC and its member organizations,” said Kevin Smith, CSEE, director of the St. Petersburg/ Clearwater Sports Commission and the chair of the Board of Directors. “We use this time to discuss some of the ways we can help our members be even more productive.”

Topics during the retreat included CSEE and professional development for members, Association meetings and events, and new membership services.

The Board also heard from Mark Lewis, executive vice president for championships and alliances of the NCAA, on the changing environment of college sports.

“These topics affect how our membership does business in the competitive sports tourism industry,” said Greg Ayers, CSEE, president and CEO of Discover Kalamazoo and Vice Chair/Chair-Elect of the Board. “The Board wants to find new ways, from education to networking, to help our members establish themselves as leaders in this field.”

The next professional development opportunity for members is the CSEE Fall Module and Market Segment Meetings, co-located with the USOC Olympic Sportslink at the Hilton Chicago on Monday, September 22 and Tuesday, September 23. For information and registration, visit http://sportscommissions.org/MarketSegmentMeetings.

Jackie Reau
Game Day Communications
700 West Pete Rose Way
Cincinnati, Ohio 45203

(513) 929-4263, office
(513) 708-5822, mobile
(513) 929-0245, fax

jreau@gamedaypr.com
www.gamedaypr.com
LinkedIn: JackieReau
Facebook: JackieReau
Twitter:@JackieReau

NASC Video Blog – Defining the Roles of Sports Commissions and Convention & Visitors Bureaus

July 14, 2014

We’re often asked, should we develop a sports commission into our marketplace?  What’s the difference between a sports commission, and convention and visitors bureau?  I would like to refer all of you that are members of the NASC to this report which is available in the member’s only section of our website under Research and Reports where we carefully define the separate roles of a sports commission and convention and visitors bureau.  We think that’s a great first place when you consider whether a sports commission is going to be right for your market or not.

But beyond that, once you’ve understood the fundamental differences between a sports commission and a CVB the big issue that you need to come down to is funding, because a sports commission, if it is not part of a convention and visitors bureau, is going to have to figure out what kinds of sources are in the community for sustainable funding to keep that organization alive.  Clearly, if you decide that your sports commission or your sports authority is going to be a department of you convention and visitors bureau the funding with doubtless come primarily from the hotel tax that is levied in your marketplace.  But if you’re an independent and we have about eighty sports commissions in the United States that are independent from convention and visitors bureaus, then funding becomes the single biggest issue.  So, before you get started down the road of a sports commission establish the kind of budget you think you need and then address the real hard question of, can we raise that kind of money?  Because there’ll often be 300, 400, 500 thousand dollars to fund a sports commission in a marketplace, when you stop to think of an annual budget in a convention and visitors bureau it’s easy to understand that a sports commission could require investments of that size.  Now not all sports commissions are that big, some are much smaller, but it depends on the role that you expect the sports commission to play in your marketplace.  Fundraising can come from corporate community members, and one of the key differentiators in your market is the number of headquarters organizations versus the number of branch offices.  A branch office will never be able to support you as effectively as the home headquarters of an organization will, that is in your community and dedicated to what’s good and what’s growing in your community, and I think you can all understand that.

The room tax is a second possibility for funding; some sports commissions even though they’re independent of a convention bureau receive some portion of their funding from the convention bureau in recognition for the room nights that they are producing in the community.  There are also some sports commissions in the United States that have become a line item in the city or county budget, where they actually receive a set amount of money each year.  Of course they have to go back and fight for that money in every new budget process, but some public funding is available from time to time for communities.

Memberships, charging memberships for both corporations and individuals are ways in which some sports commissions have funded their operations, and also fundraisers.  Whether it’s a series of luncheons, an annual sports banquet where you celebrate the value of sport in your community and bring in a high powered speaker, and try to raise substantial amounts of money.  And never forget the fact that sports commission have the ability to put themselves in their own budgets, and when the day is done and the events over, an amount of money can be transferred from the event account to the sports commission account, in recognition for the contribution that the sports commission has made.

So, as we conclude, a couple of things to keep in mind: number one if you’re going to create a sports commission dedicated lines of funding are all important, and number two, sports commissions don’t always consider room  nights as the single most essential reason for their being.  Most sports commissions, frankly, and this is true in this report, and its pointed out here, and we tried to point it out very clearly, most sports commissions are thinking about quality of life issues for their community.  They love room nights, but they are really looking for events that are going to make a difference in the lives of the people in their community, and not necessarily the events that will produce the largest number of room nights.

We hope these thoughts on sports commissions and convention and visitors bureaus are helpful to you.  Certainly we’d be happy to answer your questions at anytime, just call us here in Cincinnati and we’d be happy to talk about it.

Video blog: Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director
National Association of Sports Commissions
513.281.3888     –     http://www.sportscommissions.org 
Published  July 14, 2014

Get rewards and savings from FedEx Fridays when you enroll in the NASC Shipping Program

July 7, 2014

[Banner Ad] FedEx FridaysFedEx wants to help us celebrate your hard work and accomplishments. When you enroll in the NASC Shipping Program, managed by PartnerShip®, you’ll be automatically signed up to receive an exclusive offer every week from FedEx Fridays.* If you’re already enrolled in the NASC Shipping Program, simply click here to register.

Offers can include:**
• Starbucks® and iTunes® Gift Cards
• Discounted offers from FTD and LivingSocial
• And much more

With FedEx Fridays, it’s even more rewarding to join and use the NASC Shipping Program, managed by PartnerShip®. NASC members will continue to save up to 27% *** on select services all year long, even after this promotion ends. It’s free to join and there are no minimum shipping requirements. And, you may be eligible for other special offers and promotions.

Visit PartnerShip.com/09NASC to enroll in the NASC Shipping Program and sign up for FedEx Fridays. If you’re already enrolled in the NASC Shipping Program, you can click here to register for FedEx Fridays. Make sure you enroll or register by Aug. 15, 2014 to get signed up for these exclusive offers!

This tip is brought to you by PartnerShip, the company that manages the NASC Shipping Program. For more information on this free member benefit, email sales@PartnerShip.com or call 800-599-2902.

*Sign up by Aug. 15, 2014. Eligible customers must be a current member of NASC and enrolled in the NASC Shipping Program, managed by PartnerShip® with their account in good standing. Only one FedEx account number per person, per organization may qualify. Customers may need to meet additional requirements in order to be eligible for specific offers. All offers are limited-time only while supplies last. Registrations received after 12:00:00 a.m. EST each Thursday will be eligible for the next week and subsequent weeks’ (if any) offer.

**Starbucks®, iTunes®, American Express®, FTD® and LivingSocial are not participants or sponsors of the promotion.

***Includes a bonus 5% online processing discount. Full details available at www.PartnerShip.com/09NASC/FedExdiscounts.

 

Creating Your Own Events

June 30, 2014

I’m Don Schumacher, Executive Director of the National Association of Sports Commissions and I’d like to demonstrate to you here for just a moment our commitment to personal fitness.  Everyone on our staff is now equipped with an exercise ball chair, and we think it’s a great way to keep fit.  And it’s a great way for me to start out a video where I talk briefly to you about creating your own events.  We’ve talked about this for years around the NASC and we thought we’d give you a brief video that would just have a few topics on it that I’ve put down on paper here.

How do you do it?  How do you create your own event?  One of the best ways to do it is to find an event in your community that’s already bringing visiting teams to the area.  Meet with the organizers of that event and see what’s holding back the total number of teams that are coming into the area from out of town.  It might be that they just can’t handle the hotels; it might be that they need help finding more fields or courts; it might be that the total weight of the whole organization of the event is more than they can handle on their own.  Once you find out what’s holding them back, look for ways to solve the problem: find volunteers for them, help them put the hotel block together, set up a Stay to Play system if one is needed, create a goodie bag system, where that event has discount coupons to area attractions, restaurants, and so forth.   In short, help an existing event grow.

If you’d rather start from scratch, then you logically go for the sport that you’re best equipped to handle.  Might be its girls fast pitch; you might have enough diamonds that that’s really the sweet spot for your community.  Meet with your local fast pitch community, find out if they’re well connected or well enough connected in the fast pitch softball community regional to be able to reach out and find teams that will come and spend the night while they’re participating in your marketplace.  One of the best ways to put these events together is to stress the many things that people can see and do while they’re in your area.  We’ve talked a lot in the industry about mini-vacations, and that’s certainly true when you’re creating your own events.  And why obliviously are you going to create your own event?  You’re going to create your own event so you don’t have to bid on it every year, and you’ll find that once an events established it can grow off its own accord.  I’d like to suggest,  there’s kind of a rule of thumb, if a team is going to come from 100 plus miles out, they’re going to be inclined to stay overnight, because that’s just too much of a distance to travel each way, back and forth.

And a final suggestion, financial stipends.  If you’re helping a tournament grow, that’s being locally produced and they need financial help one of the best ways you can help them is to provide them with two, three, four thousand dollars, whatever the reasonable amount of money would be in your market, which stipulation that that moneys going to be used to promote teams coming to your market from a travel destination.  So that you can be assured your money is not only being used to promote the event but its helping to build the overnight business.

There will be plenty more to say about creating events over the coming years but these are some of the hints that we found helpful.

Video blog: Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director
National Association of Sports Commissions
Published on June 30, 2014

Why Sports Matter

June 23, 2014

Because we’re in the business of sports, we’re used to talking about the economic impact that sports has on our respective communities. It brings jobs, a livelihood, a spark of energy, a sense of excitement to our host areas.

But let’s take a second to look at the human factor of sports, and what it means for the coming generations.

All you have to do is look at the recent NBA Finals series between San Antonio and Miami. Both teams have been basketball powerhouses for several years, and have been in the media spotlight for longer than that. Expand that to the states in which they are located, Texas and Florida, and the NBA Finals have been held in one or both of these states eight times in the last 10 years.

That’s a lot of home town fans watching the best players in the league. No, scratch that, it means that’s a lot of home town kids watching the best players, and wanting to be like them.

According to the Florida High School Athletic Association survey, almost 900 more boys were playing basketball in the state last year than 10 years ago. In Texas, that state’s high school athletic association found there are 55 more high schools with boys’ basketball teams now, than five years ago.

Miami coach Eric Spoelstra has seen the change in just the short time he’s been in South Florida. “When I first got down here it was only a football city,” he said, “but now you’re starting to see a legion of kids and young generation of NBA fans that weren’t necessarily here 15, 20 years ago.”

More NBA fans means more boys and girls growing up playing basketball, developing a love of the game and, just as importantly, developing the skills to play the game at a higher level. That can mean scholarships for families who otherwise couldn’t afford to send a child to college and, consequently, the chance for a better job, a solid career, a better life for future generations.

All because San Antonio and Miami played in the NBA Finals.

And that’s just one more reason, why sports matter.

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Jackie Reau

Game Day Communications
700 West Pete Rose Way
Cincinnati, Ohio 45203

(513) 929-4263, office
(513) 708-5822, mobile
(513) 929-0245, fax

jreau@gamedaypr.com

www.gamedaypr.com

LinkedIn: JackieReau
Facebook: JackieReau
Twitter:@JackieReau

NASC Video Blog – Room Rebates

June 16, 2014

I’d like to talk to you for a few minutes about one of the biggest challenges we face in the sports event travel industry and those of you who attended our recent Symposium in Oklahoma City know that at one point during proceedings I mentioned this challenge, and the challenge is the increased reliance on room rebates and commissions to properly fund events.  It’s a serious development in our industry, one that 20 years ago did not even exist.  But today we are seeing an increased reliance on the part of either by event owner, destination, or by several groups combined to apply room rebates to properly fund an event, instead of watching the budget or perhaps instead of charging more for the team registration fee.

Now we all realize what happens, an event owner takes a look at the registration fees that other event owners are charging and they decide they can’t raise the rates, so one temptation is we won’t raise our rates, we’ll increase the room rebate.  I’m not sure I understand when the hotel and hotel room rates were suddenly the focal point of the sports event travel industry. It’s a disturbing trend folks.  If under one set of circumstances, a room rebate is applied for say $5 a night to pay for increased cost of officials or referees and when teams register they’re told there is an extra $5 for offsetting the cost of officials or referees and the room rate itself is reasonable, there is no problem, and the event can take place.  But let’s be honest with ourselves, one reason we came to the Stay to Play concept was to capture room rebates and the commissions attached through a third party booker.  That’s why we went to stay to play and that’s why, although it might not be 50% of the events in the US, a very large percentage of events in the US are Stay to Play today.

Let’s say the event takes place and the event goes off without a hitch, except for one thing.  The hotel room rate instead of being, say $100, is $120 plus tax every night, what’s going to happen?  Those parents are going to leave saying, “boy, it was a great event but we are never coming back to X Hotel, or XYZ destination again because its’ too expense”.  Those of you who are event owners aren’t getting away with anything under those conditions, because the truth is there should be fewer cities in the future to bid on those events once the word gets out.

So let’s all think this through, let’s all realize that when room rebates and commissions get out of control the people who pay the freight are the very people we work so hard to get to our destinations and if they leave dissatisfied they’re ultimately going to be dissatisfied with the industry.  Now how can we control this? First of all those of you who are setting the rebates and setting the commission rates need to keep them under tight control.  And secondly, the destination that are saying yes to some of these deals need to say start saying no to some of these deals because the cost is too high.  If an event needs, and now this is my personal opinion, if an event has to get more than say $15 a night in total commissions and room rebates, maybe that event shouldn’t take place.  And I certainly would submit that it might be a very good idea that destinations stop bidding on the event.  I’m just saying.

Video blog: Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director
National Association of Sports Commissions
Published on June 16, 2014

Safety in Youth Sports

June 9, 2014

We’ve heard a lot about the effect of concussions and other health and injury issues in front of the National Football League. The concerns over sports safety now have reached the White House recently, where President Obama brought in representatives from professional sports leagues, coaches, parents, youth sports players and researchers to discuss the issue of youth sports concussions.

At the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit, groups such as the NFL, National Institutes of Health and the Pop Warner Little Scholars pledged money and other support to help in the research for safer materials to give young athletes better protection in their respective sports.

The genesis for much of this came in a report last fall from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, calling for a national system of tracking sports concussions—including how often young athletes suffer concussions and in what sports.

Anyone who is involved in youth sports wants to see the safety of the athletes be front and center. And the issue of safety has some a long way in the last few years, with soccer and lacrosse players now wearing improved protective headgear and youth football players now being taught to tackle with their heads up, the goal being to protect from head and spinal injuries.

Still, the issue of youth concussions is top of mind for a lot of parents who want to keep  their kids safe. A report in the Wall Street Journal in January shows youth participation in the four most popular team sports—basketball, soccer, baseball and football—fell by roughly four percent from 2008 and 2012. In the same article, the National Federation of State High School Associations shows football participation dropped 2.3 percent in the 2012 season from 2008.

The causes of declines in youth sports aren’t clear. Experts cite everything from increasing costs to excessive pressure on kids in youth sports to cuts in school physical-education programs along with the safety concerns. The long-term issue is the health of children who become more sedentary, while the short term concern for cities and organizations who are the hosts for youth sports is keeping events going, and going strong, in your home town.

Keeping kids healthy while keeping them safe through sports is good for host organizations as well as for the next generation. Seeing top organizations start to invest in the safety issues is the next step in making sure youth sports continue to flourish.

The Quest for Sponsorships

May 12, 2014

If you are of a certain age, you probably remember weekend afternoons in front of the TV set, watching Chris Schenkel call the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) tournament of the week. Big names like Dick Weber and Don Carter would compete every week in a sport that a lot of us played at our hometown lanes. It was a big deal if there was a PBA stop near you.

And, it hasn’t been that long ago, in March of 2000, that the PBA tour got a jolt of enthusiasm (and cash) when former Microsoft executives Chris Peters, Rob Glaser and Mike Slade resurrected the tour, albeit for a short time. By 2009, when the economy was starting to take a hit, so did the PBA Tour, cutting the number of tour stops and overall events, with many of the tournament finals now shown on tape instead of live. In between the Professional Women’s Bowling Association went out of business in 2003, and now men and women compete equally on the tour.

Now, the latest, and possibly, final blow to a once proud tour, the U.S. Open, one of the top bowling tournaments in the country, has been canceled for the second year in a row after the Bowling Proprietors Association of America failed to find sponsors. This year’s Open already had been scratched—now, the 2015 Open also has fallen victim to the lack of sponsorship.

The BPAA says it costs about a half million dollars to put on the Open, money that they have not been able to raise. They say it’s because advertisers like to reach the 18 to 35 year old crowd, a crowd sponsors don’t think they can reach at the lanes. But those advertisers may be victim to stereotypes.

A 2012 Experian Simmons National Consumer Survey found that more than 51 million adults ages 18 and over, and perhaps more significantly, 19 million youths aged 6 to 17, are bowling, and 2012 was the fifth straight year that participation in bowling grew.

Here are some more facts from that Experian survey: The average income of a bowling household is nearly $68,000 a year, more than 46% of those households had incomes of $75,000 a year or more, and almost 32% of them had household incomes of more than $100,000. What advertiser WOULDN’T want that demographic?

You want younger demos? High school bowling is one of the fastest growing high school sports in the country, with more than 5,000 schools offering bowling programs with more than 50,000 participating in 47 states. Collegiate bowling is growing by more than 10 percent a year, and the sport is recognized at the NCAA, NJCAA and NAIA levels.

The lesson? Do your research. Do your homework when looking for sponsors to match up with your events. Presenting potential sponsors with facts and figures for their target audience may help save—and even grow—your home town events.

 

Bowling blog

“Celebritizing” Your Event

May 12, 2014

The 118th running of the Boston Marathon was marked with, of course, great emotion and even larger crowds, both running and spectating. It also had its share of celebrity, as the famous, the almost famous and wanna-be-famous looked to showed their support for the event and, usually, run for a good cause.

Among the glitterati: Former New England Patriot Teddy Bruschi; NBC Today Show news anchor Natalie Morales; Jim Wahlberg, brother of Boston stalwarts (and singer/actors) Mark and Donnie Wahlberg; Donnie’s New Kids on the Block compatriot Joey McIntyre and many others.

Of course, when you have a celebrity connected to your event, you are expecting a measure of publicity surrounding that celebrity. Note the Red Carpet treatment at the Kentucky Derby, from the famous Barnstable Brown Pre-Derby party (this year’s guest list includes Kings of Leon, Miranda Lambert, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Boy Band alum Joey Fatone and Mary Wilson from the Supremes) to the big screen celeb introductions at the Derby itself.

So, you say what does Joey Fatone have to do with my local 3-on-3 basketball tournament? Well, more than you might think. Let’s go with the premise that celebrities draw coverage. Every area has a morning news show host or a wacky weatherman or traffic reporter who often is sent out into the community for feature opportunities. Say, you have the wacky weatherman go one on one with one of your basketball athletes-the younger the better-and your athlete scores a basket faster than you can spell H-O-R-S-E.

That’s great TV. And, you get publicity for your event, publicity that you could never get just sending out a news release on the event. Remember, there’s lots of time to fill on local morning news shows these days, and if you can offer something different and entertaining for the morning show to cover, a camera will follow.

That’s another reason that media days before an event (think golf) are a big hit. The sports anchor and a camera person (sometimes they’re one and the same) get a nice lunch at a nice golf course, do an interview with the defending champion, then stick around for a few holes of golf at a course they wouldn’t be able to play otherwise. You get publicity for your event, for the cost of lunch.

So don’t hesitate to celebritize your event, from a publicity stunt to honorary coaches from the local radio/TV stations, to having the local sports anchor emcee your awards dinner or closing ceremonies. From the Boston Marathon to 3-on-3 basketball, it works.

 

natalie_morales_today_boston_marathon_h

Happy National Tourism Week!

May 6, 2014

Perhaps, it’s a good time to assess what tourism in general means to your area, and in this business, sports tourism in particular. And, more importantly, it can be a time to look at unused assets and opportunities that you may have right in your own back yard and re-energize your economic base.

In the Madison, Wisconsin area, sports tourism means University of Wisconsin games as well as Ironman and USA Cycling events. But it also means bringing in sports that may not be top of mind, like Tug of War tournaments and Ultimate Frisbee.

In an article in the Wisconsin State Journal, Judy Frankel with the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the Madison area is not necessarily looking to bring in softball, baseball, volleyball and hockey tournaments. Other areas of the state take care of those sports.

“We have a community that encourages being outside and being active,” said Frankel. “We have so many ways in which you can do it, whether you’re renting a B-Cycle for 10 minutes or you’re doing a 100-mile bike ride.” The active lifestyle of the community has encouraged the Ironman franchise to be in the area through 2018 in a state where overall tourism in 2013 was up 4.3 percent to an economic impact of $17.5 billion.

Lubbock, Texas is celebrating the week in a more engaging way. John Osborne, the president and CEO of the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance and Visit Lubbock, wrote an editorial in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal on how residents of the Hub City can actively promote Lubbock as a tourism destination, sports or otherwise with the “Live Love Lubbock” campaign, adding the hashtag #LiveLoveLubbock to social media photos of the area, offering prize incentives for the posts.

Other sports commissions and CVBs are holding “FAM” trips, sponsor luncheons and other activities to engage and update their community leaders on what tourism means to the region.

As you celebrate National Tourism Week, take the opportunity to look at your sports landscape and how your own community assets can help make it grow. Be an advocate for your community and the industry.


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