Archive for November, 2012

Updates to online profiles on NASC website

November 27, 2012

In the most recent video blog, Don discusses updates to the NASC website which will allow Active members to add more detailed information about venues to their online profile. The enhancements will allow event owners to search through the member directory by venue type.  This new tool is a valuable one; but it will only be a useful tool to help promote your destination’s facilities and venues if you update your organization’s profile.  The new area of the website that will be available in the coming weeks.

First Time Attendee

November 19, 2012

I threw my bags down in my room at the Hilton in Hartford and that was it.  I was there.  After a three-hour drive from Albany NY, I was at the NASC Symposium…

So…what now?

Far and away my biggest fear going into the Symposium last April was “what now?”  As a Sales Assistant at the CVB, I had no contacts at the Symposium and had never really sold my destination in that capacity.  While I loved sports, my ability to recite ten seasons of Buffalo Bills scores and rosters probably wasn’t going to have much of an impact on anyone.

But within a half hour though, none of that mattered.

After swinging by the Convention Center to check in at registration, I was heading back to my hotel to get ready for that evening’s welcome reception when I spotted a person walking ahead of me with the same NASC duffel bag that I had slung over my shoulder.  It was when we stopped at a crosswalk that conversation started and continued for the fifteen-minute walk back to the hotel.  It came easy—we were both new, we were in the same industry, and we were both figuring it out.  No big deal.

Later that evening upon walking into the welcome reception, I found myself in that same situation…what now?  Always one to trust my gut, I made my way to the buffet in the center of the room and said hello to a woman in line.  As fate would have it, she was from Albany as well!  Albany, Georgia, but still—what were the odds?

It was also at this reception that I met a guy from Georgia who was new to his Sports Marketing position.  We bonded over our relative inexperience and were intermittently joined throughout our conversation by others saying hello and introducing themselves.  The CSEE Grad from Florida.  The duo from North Carolina.  While I can’t rip every name off the top of my head, I can reach down and grab my stack of business cards from the show and have everyone identified in a minute. And making those connections is what it’s all about.  The show continued in a similar fashion for the next three days and it was absolutely fantastic.

Fast forward six months, I’m now a Sales Manager here at the Albany CVB and starting to think about my second Symposium proactively instead of reactively.  I know now that doing business isn’t just trying to sign a deal during an eight minute info-session, but rather forming relationships that will garner business in the future.  If this is your first Symposium, know that there’s nothing to worry about.  This is the greatest sports-related networking experience and exposure you’ll get all year, and as long as you take advantage of the opportunity by putting yourself out there, everything else will fall into place.

Charlie Hewitt Charlie Hewitt
Sales Manager
Albany County (NY) CVB
chewitt@albany.org

Charlie Hewitt has worked in hospitality for eight years, and is  currently a Sales Manager with the Albany County (N.Y.) Convention & Visitors Bureau.  In this role, he works with meeting planners in the Group Tour, Fraternal, Reunion, and Sports markets to ensure their event needs and expectations are exceeded.  Charlie also spent time working for the Sports Foundation of New York’s Capital Region, helping to plan and execute events to support amateur athletics in the Albany area.  In addition to work with the CVB, Charlie has worked for hotels, restaurants, and attractions, and has used this experience to fully understand what the client experience is like from start to finish when visiting a new destination.  His academic background is in hotel, resort and restaurant management with the SUNY College of Technology at Delhi.

Importance of Attending the NASC Sports Event Symposium

November 15, 2012

I am in my second year as the Sports & Entertainment Sales Manager for VISIT Milwaukee. Prior to me, Sports was not even considered a Major Market. The one thing that VISIT Milwaukee was aware of, was the importance of NASC and attending the Sports Event Symposium. 2012 was my first year attending and my colleagues were right, NASC Sports Event Symposium is by far the best industry event to attend for education. It truly gave me an opportunity to work with my peers and understand how I can help my city grow the Sports market. If you are looking to develop the Sports market, learn how to overcome challenges and share ideas with other cities, the best place to be is the 2013 NASC Sports Event Symposium.

MARISSA K. PITROSKI
Sports & Entertainment Sales Manager
VISIT Milwaukee

Sponsorship Activation – What it Means and Its Importance to All Parties

November 14, 2012

Authored by Greg Ayers, President and CEO, Discover Kalamazoo

November 2, 2012

Sponsorships are extremely important to the success of sports events, whether it is the Super Bowl or a local youth soccer tournament.  Sports events provide great opportunities for exposure for brands and financial resources for events.  Successful sponsorships benefit both parties – the sponsor and the event.

Gone are the days where companies are willing to sponsor sports events of any type and not expect some type of a return on their investment.  For the most part, many companies simply have fewer dollars to invest in sponsorships.  Companies are also much more intelligent and sometimes sophisticated on their analysis of the return on the sponsorship investment.

As a result of this change in tide over the past decade or so, never has it been more important for events to completely understand the amenities which can be offered to potential sponsors before meeting with them and to best understand what is important to them when determining investment in sports event sponsorships.  This meeting should include an understanding of each other’s desires and to determine opportunities of mutual benefit to all involved.

Sponsorship activation is a term which has been used for quite some time by very large sports events who are selling sponsorships of significant proportions to national and international companies having the propensity to invest in these events.  The Detroit Regional Chamber defines sponsorship activation as “the money a sponsor invests, in addition to the sponsorship rights fee, to enhance their presence and attendee experience at events.”  In order to successfully accomplish this, it is imperative for the parties involved to truly understand the opportunities to create a win-win situation.

Please join me for a webinar on the topic of Sponsorship Activation on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm EST.  If you have any ideas and/or specific questions you would like me to address in the webinar, then please send them to me at gayers@discoverkalamazoo.com.  Sponsorship activation is here to stay and can be extremely important to the success of your events and the relationships you have with sponsors who invest their valuable resources with you.  I hope you will join us!

What NASC Means To Me

November 13, 2012

“I would not have a job in the sports travel industry if it weren’t for the National Association of Sports Commissions!” 

This is a pretty strong statement, but true!  I was hired by the Cedar Rapids Area CVB to pursue convention and meeting business.  After experiencing success for several years, our city began losing its share of this market in the late 1990s when our competition began building shiny, new convention centers.   The largest facility Cedar Rapids could offer the meetings market was a hotel connected to a 6000-seat arena.  During this same time period, our city began developing a new minor league baseball stadium, 20-field soccer complex, and ice arena for the benefit of local residents.

As I was struggling to adjust to the changing landscape of the meetings market, I became aware of the National Association of Sports Commissions through Denny Gann who was President of the Sioux City Sports Commission, one of NASC’s twelve founding organizations.  He gave a series of seminars describing the sports market as a new, emerging market segment.  He explained how hosting a sports event was very different from hosting a convention; and he encouraged membership in a young organization, the National Association of Sports Commissions.

The Cedar Rapids Area CVB became a member of NASC on February 1, 1997, and I attended my first Symposium that April in San Antonio.   I felt like a sponge as I attended one session after another and gained new knowledge from other attendees.  As I absorbed the information shared, I realized that Cedar Rapids could be a legitimate contender for tournaments!

In the fall of 1997 I was ready to bid on my first national tournament.  I prepared my proposal but wanted a more knowledgeable individual to review my work.  Once again NASC came to my rescue!  I asked Denny Gann to mentor me.  As a result of his suggestions, I was able to strengthen my proposal; and Cedar Rapids was awarded the 1999 AAU Taekwondo Youth and Adult National Championship!

The story doesn’t end there, however.  In July of 1998, 1000 athletes and their families spent 5 days in Cedar Rapids competing in the tournament, exploring the area, and spending money at our restaurants, hotels and retail outlets.   Our city council was so pleased with the economic benefits generated, they gave our CVB funding to add a full-time person dedicated to attracting more sports events to our area!

Today NASC continues to be as vibrant and important to me as it was 14 years ago.  Volunteering on committees has given me more insight into the industry and more professional contacts.  I continue to learn from my peers at Symposium and at Market Segment Meetings.  I am very proud of my CSEE and the respect my clients have for the designation.  I find that the appointments with sports organizers at Symposium and the information about their events on the website are invaluable!

I urge you to take advantage of all that the National Association of Sports Commission has to offer!  I promise it will positively enhance your success in this industry!

Mary Lee Malmberg, CSEE
Director of Sports Tourism
Cedar Rapids Area CVB

Mary Lee joined the Cedar Rapids Area Convention & Visitors Bureau in 1989. The bureau’s Sports Tourism Department was established in 2000 and Mary Lee has served as the Director of Sports Tourism since that time. The Sports Tourism Department has helped bring a number of state, regional and national competitions to the Cedar Rapids area including the American Legion World Series and NCAA Division II and III National Wrestling Championships. Mary Lee has attended each NASC Sports Symposium since 1997 and has served on the Member Mentoring Committee since 2001. Mary Lee received her Certified Sports Event Executive certification in April 2006. She has served on NASC’s Board of Directors since 2008.

Room Block in Louisville

November 1, 2012

Every year at the NASC Symposium we have various sessions on how to track hotel pickup.  We all dream of the event where every team stays within their hotel room block and tracking is a breeze. The same can be said of our association’s annual gathering.  We have the opportunity to support NASC by staying at the host hotel (Louisville Marriott Downtown) or the overflow hotel (Hyatt Regency Louisville).  And both hotels are steps from the Kentucky International Convention Center!  Check out the Hotels page on the NASC Symposium website to book your room. See you in Louisville…..

Heath Aucoin, CSEE

Event Manager/Sports Sales Manager

SMG/Jackson Convention Complex