Archive for May, 2011

Well-Designed Insurance Programs Are A Must For Your Events

May 31, 2011

Why is it that some people in our industry regard a discussion on insurance as something similar to getting a root canal? With apologies to the dental profession, root canals are no fun. But, in our industry, insurance is extraordinarily important…so much so that I cannot accept hearing a member say “I have nothing to do with our insurance.”

That may be true in terms of your job description, but your daily actions lead directly to the need for coverage for your employer and those with whom you hope to work.

In truth we must all be concerned. We should not be selling events to cities, cities should not be selling themselves as destinations, and our organizations themselves cannot exist without a fully thought through and designed insurance program and companion risk prevention program.

The NASC is very happy to be able to announce the launch of the NASC Insurance Program.

If you will go to the home page of our web site and click on the NASC Insurance Program button on the top left, you will discover what has just been launched. In cooperation with Rand Sports & Entertainment Insurance this program is now up and running.

Please make note of the fact that programs are available for:

  • General liability, accident and inland marine insurance
  • Sports teams and leagues
  • Youth baseball
  • Sports tournaments and events
  • Sports camps and clinics
  • Short-term special events
  • Vendors and exhibitors

If you are a bid city, event owner, or supplier one or more of these programs is perfect for you!

Many members assist local tournaments. These tournaments can now be covered! You have a very concrete service to offer them!

Event owners: there is an entire range of coverage available to you and your member clubs, organizations, and teams.

Active members: you can now purchase just about anything you need to protect yourselves and your events.

Check it out!!


Kind Regards



NASC Regional Workshops: Coming Soon To A Hotel Near You!

May 20, 2011

I am excited about the long term prospects for our newly created Regional Workshops! We held the first in Sacramento last November, held a second in March in Gwinnett County, Georgia and will hold our third in Fishers, Indiana (just north of Indianapolis) on June 29. As you can imagine we plan to move around to many parts of the country so we can legitimately say “coming soon to a hotel near you!”

Why are we launching this initiative? It is turning out to be a great way to cover the basics of our business in about six hours. It works as a refresher for the experienced and for the rest an easy way to become familiar with what it takes to be successful.

We are very sure non-members will enjoy the sessions. CVBs, Event Owners, Sports Commissions, Park and Recreation Professionals, City or County Officials, and/or board members of member organizations … all will find plenty of interest.

What are they about? I know, six hours! I already said that!

The topics we cover are:

  • The four types of sport tourism
  • Size, value of the industry
  • The ability to resist economic downturns
  • Differences between sports events and conventions and meetings
  • Benefits to the host community
  • Benefits to the event owner
  • Importance of ROI before the bid!
  • Growth in state organizations and funding

The room is set in rounds open to the presenter, and we do hold roundtable discussions on all of the points as we move along.

Beth Hecquet and I are the facilitators. We have already learned how much everyone learns by listening, so we do our share!

The sessions usually start by 10:00am. A meet and greet starts at 9:30am, and we have lunch served around noon. Everyone is on the road back home no later than 4:00pm.

Full details on the June 29 event can be found on our website. There is a charge of $50 per person to cover lunch and meeting materials and staffing. We do hold a few rooms in the host hotel for those of us in need of an overnight stay.

Here are some carefully selected comments from our session in Gwinnett:  Content? Just right! Cost? Perfect. Affordable for anyone! What more would you like? Nothing, it was perfect!! OK, so I skipped a couple, but you get the idea! Besides, we do not repeat mistakes!!

We hope to see many of you in Indiana!


Kind Regards



The Importance of Locally Created Events

May 13, 2011

I have had many opportunities to study home-grown soccer tournaments. Each was developed originally by a small group of individuals or a local club. Because they were created locally they use existing sites. Very recently I have learned a good deal about the events in one city. In fairness I am not going to reveal the name except to say it is in the Midwest.

Prior to this year, four annual tournaments took place. These included several age groups and spanned just about all levels of skill. The smallest event has been drawing 350 teams and the largest 525! This year, two new fall events will join the calendar and both are targeted at about 350 teams. The credible estimates I have seen put the number of visiting teams at fifty percent or more. This means more than 1000 visiting teams a year. If you assume 30-40 people per team, the numbers get interesting.

Please remember these are locally created. No bids, no guarantees, but lots of room nights!

It became clear to me a number of years ago that local events are much more adept at using multiple sites. The organizers know the local area and are willing to spread competition over a 20 or more mile radius. Event owners looking for host communities are less able to adjust to these conditions.

The fields themselves are usually large expanses of turf with moveable goals. These permit sizing the fields to suit varying age groups. Most fields are not lighted, and few have scoring systems, team bench areas or permanent seating. The city in question has complexes that can hold from 35 to fewer than 10 fields. Some are public facilities, and all of these are under the care of a park and recreation department. A surprising number, however, are private including the 35 field complex. These are owned by the clubs themselves.

One such complex opens this spring. It has fifteen new fields…no lights, no scoring, but plenty of parking and the ability to size the fields to suit each week’s schedule.
Many of you have heard me speak about the value of youth soccer. Most players demonstrate uncertain skills, and most will give up the game before they reach 14. One of the most attractive things about youth soccer is the simple fact that most players are of average ability. There are lots more average players than elites.The events they enter are designed to provide competition experiences outside the norm in their home communities.

What’s my point? We may be spending too much time worrying about how many full size (70 by 110 yards or larger) fields we have and not enough time thinking about how many youth teams need or can play on fields that size. I believe that if you think about it you will conclude that large expanses of good turf will serve best in your quest for visitors and their spending.

Many of you are fortunate to have multiple field complexes with lighted fields and electronic scoring. These, of course, are the kinds of complexes everyone would like to have. I have been able to visit scores of such places, and they are sights (sites?) to see!

I cannot help but think, however, that the cost of developing and maintaining complexes like these may be out of the reach of many communities…and success can be achieved by using something more like a polo field!

What do you think?

Kind Regards



Don’s Recap on CSTA

May 3, 2011

Welcome to my new blog! I will do my best to keep you up to date with people, places, events, and facilities I visit or hear about. We will start with one a week and see how it goes.

Last week I attended the 2011 Sport Events Congress presented by the Canadian Sports Tourism Alliance. It was my first CSTA meeting in five years due to conflicts with our own sports event symposium. The meetings were held in Ottawa, Ontario…the beautiful capital city of Canada. The Westin Hotel was the site, and my room looked out on the canal and across to parliament and the rest of the major government buildings.

I have always thought the Canadian maple leaf based logo and flag to be one of the most, if not the most powerful brands in sport.

The program was full of great speakers and presentations, notably on wrap-ups of Vancouver 2010, a look ahead to the Pan Am Games in Toronto in 2015, an update from Marcel Aubut, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee, and of course my own talk at the closing luncheon: Nothing like comic relief at the end of a successful event!

I was very impressed with breakout sessions on the CSTA’s Sport Tourism Economic Assessment Model (STEAM), a web-based economic impact assessment model and another on Social Media for Sports Events (which helped push me into the blogasphere). We also heard from Mark Harrison, President of TrojanOne in Toronto. Mark’s company has worked closely with the CSTA on a number of marketing initiatives and I found his insight and understanding of our business of potential interest to the membership of NASC.

On the last evening we loaded into buses and crossed the river into Quebec to visit the new Centre multisport de Gatineau, a 200,000 square foot indoor multi-sport facility! What a building! It contains an Olympic size competition pool developed in cooperation with Swim Canada that meets or exceeds competition standards for all water sports, including a ten meter diving tower. Another section is devoted to court sports and the final major area is for gymnastics. This is a sensational facility, made all the more important by the way in which it serves the needs of residents of Gatineau, Quebec in addition to its competitive uses. One of its tenants is Volleyball Canada.

The CSTA and NASC serve very similar needs, and we are assembling an exploratory team of members from both organizations. We may be able to develop educational opportunities and encourage the growth of competition between elite athletes in a variety of sports, not to mention grass roots events.

One big issue: did you know only about 30% of all US citizens have passports? A cross border trip is a valuable civics lesson, not to mention the chance to visit outstanding attractions and cities. I am very thankful I have had opportunities to visit almost every Canadian province, and my life is richer for each trip!

In summary:  great sessions, wonderful people, excellent presentations, and plenty of networking.


Kind Regards



Visionary Collaboration

May 3, 2011

By Jim Dietz, Columbus Indiana Visitors Center

We, like everyone else, have faced some challenging times.  Our Parks & Rec department has faced budgetary cutbacks each of the last three years and we feared the budget cuts would begin affecting the maintenance of the tournament-quality facilities they have been providing and their possible staffing cuts would affect the number of weekends available for outside events.

In order to avert future problems, we sat down with the parks staff a year and a half ago and talked about their budget and what could be done with event income to help them through this crisis.  The result was a cooperative rewriting of their field rental agreements to compensate for additional staffing costs and a restructuring of the work schedules of their staff to reduce overtime costs.  They are now in their second season of successfully utilizing the new contract.

Our CVB researched possible contract options by utilizing our networking through NASC and other associations, rewrote the contracts, provided a cost-analysis based on the previous year’s tournament schedule, then presented it to the parks director and his staff.  Because of our long history of cooperation, we were already in a position of trust with the department so their acceptance of our helping rewrite the contract was made much easier.

This achieved several things for us: 1) it reinforced the level of partnership we had with them, 2) it showed them our interests were not self-serving but were with them in trying to solve their problems, and 3) it took us to the next level of trust and cooperation-it’s what we are now calling “Visionary Collaboration”.   For our Parks & Rec department, it has resulted in increased revenue from venue rental and has helped balance their work loads during the busy summer season.

Recently we have embarked on the next phase of growing our sports tourism initiative, the establishment of an area-wide Sports Advisory Council.  The primary objectives of establishing this council are to help identify future sporting opportunities, to act as a sounding board for newly planned or proposed facilities, and to provide a broader base within the community that will help champion the growth of sports tourism in the community.  This was the result of a recommendation of Jack Hughes, Gainesville, Florida Sports Commission Executive Director.

This is an organization that will also serve as an advocate for parks and recreation, the school corporation, and privately-operated facility owners.  It brought together 12-14 community business leaders who had virtually no prior experience with the sports tourism industry.  Having a group of business leaders with no pre-conceived ideas evaluating all aspects of sports tourism has provided a new dynamic for sports within the community.  These are people who have brought a new can-do attitude to our sports tourism, have managed to make all of us broaden our approach to problem-solving, and have become a potential funding source for future sporting events.

Three important things can be learned from our recent actions:  1) to effectively solve many of your problems, look for solutions through the eyes of your partners, 2) use your NASC networking resources to help you find answers to challenging problems, and 3) become as inclusive as possible within your communities; frequently the more diversity you can bring to the problem-solving table, the greater your chances of developing solutions that work.

Dietz Jim About the Guest Contributor: Jim served on the Board of Directors of the Columbus Area Visitors Center for seven years and as an officer for 3 of those years. Jim currently serves as Director of Sports Tourism for the CAVC and oversees over 50 annual athletic events in Columbus. Jim has been involved in the hospitality industry for over 30 years having owned and operated his own restaurants in Indiana and Illinois. A former high school teacher and coach, he has also held management positions in a Fortune 500 company and has served on numerous boards including the Western Illinois University Foundation Board and the Western Illinois University Athletic Board.