Archive for October, 2015

More from your venue

October 26, 2015

It sounds like the old Larry Bird-Magic Johnson McDonald’s commercial..off the backstop, through the dugout, off the steps..but at Petco Park, it’ll be the way you play miniature golf—and it’s a unique sponsorship activation at the same time.

Over the first weekend in November, the San Diego Padres and Callaway Golf will create a nine-hole layout around the downtown ball park. The Links at Petco Park, to be held November 5-8, will begin on a putting green in the home dugout. Golfers will move to the ballpark’s upper deck for Nos. 2-5, where they will hit shots onto the field from various locations. The sixth will tee off on the field near the Western Metal Supply Co. building in the left field corner before golfers move to the batter’s eye in center field for No. 7. The eighth hole will be a putting green in the bullpen. The final hole will be on the roof of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building.

Prices are $100 for twosomes and $200 for foursomes. Callaway will provide clubs and balls. Upgraded packages include specially branded Callaway clubs and tickets to a future Padres game. No surprise, tee times are all gone, but you can still sign up for a wait list.

“We’re always trying to provide authentic golf experiences with our products that are unique and engaging, and that’s exactly what this partnership with the Padres is about,” Callaway senior vice president of marketing Harry Arnett told the Padres’ website. “Playing a nine-hole course at a venue like Petco Park with Callaway golf clubs and balls will be a once-in-a-lifetime round, and we are excited to be a part of it.”

Each hole along the course will feature a unique theme and an opportunity to win prizes like a new Callaway Great Big Bertha Driver, with various holes offering corresponding snacks and beverages.

We’ve talked about using existing venues for new events. The Petco Park activation, the Fenway Park snow jumping event this winter, even stadium concerts, all offer new revenue streams for venues at a time when their stadium wouldn’t be used. And, it gives fans a unique look at a facility they thought they were familiar with. More and more facilities are taking a new look at how to bring in fans, and money, during what would otherwise be the off-season.

Petco Park links course

illustration is courtesy San Diego Padres

Sports in the Courts

October 22, 2015

If event rights holders and venue operators need another reminder that every legal scenario needs to be covered when holding an event, here are three reminders:

A former Ohio University baseball player has sued the school, alleging that his career ended because his coach discouraged players from complaining about injuries. RyLee Rogers, a catcher from Cambridge, Ohio, is seeking more than $25,000 in the lawsuit.

Rogers suffered a tear in the shoulder cartilage of his throwing arm in the Bobcats’ 2012 baseball season and underwent corrective surgery before returning to the team for the 2013 season. Head baseball coach Rob Smith then assigned Rogers to be a bullpen catcher for the annual varsity-alumni game, and he was required to make an “excessive” number of throws, the lawsuit states. Rogers suffered another torn labrum in his throwing arm and underwent surgery that ended his baseball career, according to the lawsuit. The suit claims Smith discouraged players from complaining about soreness or physical limitations and discouraged them from sitting out of scheduled activities.

But it’s not just at the college level: A La Jolla High School student is suing the school district, alleging that a football coach ordered him to keep playing in a game last year even though he had suffered a concussion during the first quarter.

John Enloe III, who is now over 18, accuses the San Diego Unified School District of negligence and failing to both recognize the signs of his injury and to follow safe and proper coaching protocol.

According to the complaint, Enloe was a member of La Jolla High’s junior varsity football team on Oct. 16, 2014, when he was hit hard during game play. He complained of a headache and nausea, told an assistant coach that he wasn’t feeling well and asked to be taken out of the game, but the coach told him to “suck it up” and keep playing, said attorney Harlan Zaback, who represents Enloe in the lawsuit. Enloe was hit again during the game and was taken to a hospital later. There, he was diagnosed with a serious concussion.

And it’s not just in the schools: WTA star Eugenie Bouchard has begun legal action against the United States Tennis Association after suffering a concussion following a fall at the U.S. Open. She slipped in the locker room there, withdrew from the tournament before her fourth-round match, then pulled out of the China Open the next month because of dizziness.

The lawsuit alleges she slipped on “a foreign and dangerous substance,” identified as a cleaning agent supposed to be left on the floor overnight. The suit also alleges negligence and includes a demand for a jury trial, with Bouchard seeking damages from the USTA and USTA National Tennis Center.

While these cases make their way through the legal system, they stand as reminders for everyone to cross their legal T’s and dot their legal I’s. Whether it’s background checks on volunteers or insurance coverage for venues, we all know that events, and the places where they’re held, should and must be covered. It’s a good time as we head into the new year to re-evaluate your coverage and your security protocol to make sure you’ve done everything needed to make your event, and venue, safe.

gavel on white background

Youth Sports at a Crossroads

October 12, 2015

An article this past week in the Washington Post revealed something that many of us who work in the business of youth sports have known for some time: The number of kids who participate in organized sports is reaching a crisis level.

According to a survey by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, more than 26 million children ages 6 to 17 played team sports last year, but that’s down about four percent from the total in 2009. The total sports played have dropped by nearly 10 percent.

Some of the decline is blamed on the recession at the start of the decade, but experts say the dropoff in the suburbs is something to be concerned about, mainly because kids are being steered away from playing a variety of school sports and sent into elite competition. Children as a whole, according to the study, are playing fewer sports, and those who are left in school programs often are the victims of poor coaching.

With 70 percent of youngsters quitting sports by age 12, it’s easy to look at a reason why. And the reason, researchers say, often is the parents.

Mark Hyman, a professor of sports management at George Washington University, is quoted in the article as targeting parental influence as the main reason fewer kids are playing fewer sports. “If we wiped the slate clean and reinvented youth sports from scratch by putting the physical and emotional needs of kids first, how different would it look? Nothing would be recognizable.”

The Aspen Institute, the Clinton Foundation, and several amateur and professional sports organizations are studying the issue. Officials met at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, as well as earlier this year at a Washington summit attended by the U.S. surgeon general. Dick’s Sporting Goods asks for donations at the checkout counter for Sports Matter, a program to fund underfunded youth sports teams.  The NASC also picks a local charity or non-profit in the city of its annual sports symposium to boost youth sports activities.

Sports has become a way for parents to try to get college scholarships for their children, often starting them in one sports as a toddler and investing thousands of dollars in travel teams, equipment and individual coaching. Even though the odds of a scholarship, much less a pro career, are small, parents will take the gamble hoping for the next Tiger Woods or Mia Hamm.

The article also quotes a survey a professor at George Washington conducted on nearly 150 children. The kids identified 81 factors that contributed to their happiness in playing sports. Number 48 was winning. Also low on the list, playing in tournaments, cool uniforms, top of the line equipment.

The number 1 reason why kids quit? It’s no longer fun.

It’s up to the grownups to figure out how to make sports fun again for our youngsters, to keep them in activities that they can take with them well into adulthood, and, most importantly, to let them rediscover the fun in sports. Athletics can teach amazing life lessons to kids. Let’s make sure they learn the right ones.

Photo courtesy of the Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation

Photo courtesy of the Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation

NASC Member Services Update

October 8, 2015

The NASC staff and Board of Directors are happy to announce the hiring of an additional staff member to better serve the needs of our ever-growing membership. With a membership that has grown more than 25% in the last five years, it is of utmost importance that the national office continues to deliver a high level of personal service to each and every one of our member organizations.

Therefore, an additional member services coordinator, Allison Deak, began her tenure with the NASC on October 6, 2015. With this staff change comes some restructuring and shifts in responsibilities of each staff member at the national office to more appropriately handle the volume of daily activity required to service nearly 800 member organizations.

Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director, is a founder of the NASC and has been the executive director since 1994. Don develops and implements the strategic plan for the NASC. He also leads NASC strategic consulting services and CSEE.

Lori Gamble, Associate Executive Director, has been an integral part of the leadership team of the NASC since 1994. In addition to her responsibility of managing the annual operating budget, Lori will oversee the sponsorship program and meeting management, including the annual NASC Sports Event Symposium and NASC Market Segment Meetings.

Elizabeth Young, Director of Membership and Marketing, has been on staff since 2007. Elizabeth will continue to lead the membership recruitment and renewal efforts and develop and implement the annual marketing and communications plan. Elizabeth also manages the NASC Sports Legacy Fund and NASC Member Awards, oversees advertising sales, and serves as the editor of NASC publications.

Meagan McCalla, Member Services Coordinator, has been on staff since 2013. Meagan will continue to be the primary point of contact for all Active member organizations (destinations). Active members should expect quarterly service calls from Meagan and contact her for any questions regarding membership renewals, account updates, registration for NASC meetings, or general inquiries about member services and benefits.

Allison Deak, Member Services Coordinator, will join the staff in October 2015. Allison will be the primary point of contact for all Allied and Rights Holder members (vendors and event owners). Allied and Rights Holder members should expect quarterly service calls from Allison and contact her for any questions regarding membership renewals, account updates, registration for NASC meetings, or general inquiries about member services and benefits.

We look forward to continuing to serve the needs of all of our members and remain your resource for the sports tourism
industry for years to come.

Safety is Priority 1

October 6, 2015

Friday night, October 2, Kenny Bui, a senior at Evergreen High in Seattle, Washington was playing defensive back for his school’s football team when he was injured making a tackle. He was taken to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery, but died the following Monday.

Kenny becomes the fourth high school football player to die this season in this country because of on-field injuries. Tyrell Cameron from Louisiana suffered a neck injury; Ben Hamm from Oklahoma died more than a week after a hit to the head; Evan Murray from New Jersey died from bleeding caused by a lacerated spleen.

Kenny wasn’t even the only player in the Seattle area hospitalized Friday night. Another player suffered a broken bone in his neck and has been fitted with a halo brace. And a week earlier, yet another player in Seattle collapsed during a game and suffered swelling in his brain.

According to a study almost a decade old from the American Journal of Sports Medicine, high school football players suffer three times as many catastrophic injuries as college players. One reason is sheer numbers: About 100,000 play NFL, college, semipro and Arena football combined. About 1.1 million high schoolers play football, around 3 million play youth football, according to USA Football. Some speculate the injuries at younger levels could be from using older equipment: Schools and youth football teams just can’t afford better, safer helmets. Another reason? Younger brains are more susceptible to injury. And not every youth team has an athletic trainer at the ready.

USA Football goes out of its way to train youth coaches on how to teach the game the right way. Youth sports are vital to the growth and development of athletes, and making those sports as safe as possible, whether it’s football, youth basketball or club soccer teams, are all our responsibilities.

Rawlings helmet

Photo courtesy of Rawlings