Archive for the ‘industry trends’ Category

Tips for the RFP Process

February 9, 2016

Responding to an RFP can be a daunting task, especially in the sports market.  Yet, tackling an RFP piece-by-piece can make the process easier and, hopefully, yield lucrative results.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that the requirements are a good fit for your destination. Read the RFP thoroughly to see if you have the items needed to place a bid.  The bare bones necessary are the venues, hotel space, volunteer availability, expertise of a Local Organizing Committee (LOC) and a plan to deal with bid fees.  If you have any questions, pick up the phone and call the planner.  A phone call will go a long way, and allows you to find out what the hot button issues are. In some cases, what you might think is important actually may be unimportant for the planner.  Always ask the question. For example, if a bid specifies that your fields need to have lights but yours don’t, ask the planner if lack of lights is a deal breaker.  Another example might be that a client prefers Hilton properties, but the bulk of your rooms are with Marriott. If this happens, let the client know, and check to see if this will be an issue for the bid.

One of the most important steps in this process is to check the history of the event you are bidding on.  The best way to do this is to talk to the CVBs or Sports Commissions in cities that have hosted the event in the past.  Ask them about venues used, hotel pickup and if there were any challenges with the event operator.  Make sure to find out if they had any overall problems with the event.  This information is very valuable, and will help you in the RFP process.  It is important to also check the geographical history of the event – has the event ever occurred in your region? Some events are a better fit to certain areas of the country- what works in the South might not work as well in the North. It’s fine to let a client know that you have researched their event.  It shows that you are thorough and helps keep them transparent and communicative.

Many destinations cannot afford – or simply won’t pay – bid fees. Many times, a bid fee can be circumvented by offering concessions instead.  A list of concessions is usually provided along with the bid fee. These can include complimentary hotel rooms, airline tickets, rental cars etc.   Only the sales person and the destination marketing or sports organization can determine if you can address their concessions.  Perhaps you can form a partnership with a local rental car agency to get a reduced weekly rate in exchange for agency being listed as the sponsor. Airlines can be a bit challenging, however contact your local hub, they may be willing to work with you. Utilize relationships with the hotels in the area to obtain comp rooms for the proposal.  Some events will require two or more hotels to fill the comps. Always make sure the comp policy is consistent across hotels listed in the proposal.

Once you have collected all of the information required for the bid, prepare to submit the proposal. If you have not been able to meet all the concessions, it is still okay to submit. Several things can happen at this point. One response may be, that, although the concessions were not completely met, the facilities may be a better fit for the event. Another response could be a flat out no, however the organizer now is aware what you are able to do and may come back for future events.

It is important to ask for decision dates as a part of the proposal submission. If it is not specifically addressed in the RFP, make sure to ask. This allows organizations to hold space at facilities until decision time. Some facilities will place the space on “hold” for a certain number of days and give the event planner the “right of refusal” for the dates. In that case the organization on “hold” will have to go to contract and send a deposit for the space. Some organizations will request a site visit as a part of the decision process. With years of experience, it is safe to say a site visit should typically last two days to include venue and hotel options.

John Gibbons, CSEE
Executive Director of the RI Sports Commission
JGibbons@GoSportsRI.ocm

Ron Eifert, CSEE
Senior Sales Manager
Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau
reifert@daytoncvb.net

2016 NASC Sports Marketplace Appointment Process

January 12, 2016

As reported in the September edition of the NASC Playbook, the Symposium Committee, based on member feedback, has created a new framework for the 2016 NASC Sports Marketplace. In this edition of the “Tips from the Mentoring Committee”, we offer the following thoughts on improvements to the appointment process and how all members can benefit from hitting the reset button on what to expect from the NASC Sports Marketplace in Grand Rapids.

Individual Appointments

Think “New Relationship NASC Sports Marketplace”

From its inception in San Antonio, TX in 1997, the purpose of the NASC Sports Marketplace has been to provide opportunities for NEW BUSINESS development for our members.

Individual appointments, which are 10 minutes each, offer destinations and vendor exhibitors the opportunity to share information about their community and/or products/services with event owners.  Ideally, individual appointments should be requested by organizations that are not currently doing business with one another.  Anyone who has attended the NASC Symposium knows the schedule includes ample time for current business partners to conduct meetings and network with each other.

For the first time, participating members will have an extended window to request, accept/decline, and prioritize individual appointments. The online appointment portal will open the first week of January and remain open until February 26, 2016.

Why the extended time?  Eight weeks gives everyone time to properly evaluate and research the organizations with whom they are requesting an appointment and organizations requesting an appointment of them.  The goal is to eliminate individual appointments taking place between a destination and/or vendor and event owner where there is clearly no opportunity to do business. For example, if a destination doesn’t have facilities required to host a particular sport and/or event, then the destination should not be requesting an appointment with that event owner.  With time to evaluate and research, these potentially embarrassing situations can and should be avoided.

Event Overview Appointments

Think “Learning & Listening Marketplace”

Event Overview Appointments offer event owners the opportunity to share information about their organization and what it takes to host an event with destinations whom they have not done business.  This is not a time to sell your destination or product/service to the event owner, but rather listen to the event overview and gather information about event requirements, future opportunities, etc. If your organization qualifies to host an event or provide a product/service based on what you learn during the appointment, then follow up after the Symposium.

How does this work?  Destinations, vendor exhibitors, and event owners will have the opportunity to request, accept/decline, and prioritize event overview appointments. These appointments will take place at tables in the Sports Marketplace, not at the event owner’s booth.  Up to five (5) destinations and/or vendor exhibitors will be seated at a table with one event owner. The event owner will provide information on what it takes to host their event and may allow a minute or two at the end of the 10-minute appointment for questions.

Key Dates

  • Week of January 4 – Individual Appointment schedule portal opens
  • Midnight PT February 19 – Last day to registered to be guaranteed appointments
  • Midnight PT February 26 – Individual Appointment portal closes
  • Week of March 14 – Individual Appointment schedules released and Event Overview Appointment portal opens
  • Midnight PT March 18 – Event Overview Appointment portal closes
  • Week of March 28 – Event Overview Appointment schedules released

It is important to note, registration fees must be paid in full before the first attendee from your organization can view the online appointment portal.

Direct any questions about the appointment process to your member services coordinator.

Active Members:

Meagan McCalla, Meagan@SportsCommissions.org or 513.842.8307.

Allied and Rights Holder Members:

Allison Deak, Allison@SportsCommissions.org or 513.250.4366.

Yours in sport,

John David, CSEE
USA BMX
NASC Mentoring Committee Co-Chair
John@USABMX.com

Mike Price, CSEE
Greater Lansing Sports Authority
NASC Mentoring Committee Co-Chair
mprice@lansing.org

 

Changes ahead for youth football?

January 11, 2016

The new year could be bringing a new look to youth football around the country. Case in point: Somerville, Massachusetts, has announced its recreation department is changing the city’s youth football program from tackle to “non-contact” flag football for kids in first through eighth grade.

youth-football.jpg

Photo courtesy Grand Forks Park District

In an article published by boston.com, city officials cited concerns nationwide over increases in injuries for young players in contact football, as well as declining enrollment in the city’s contact program. The changes were announced this past week, to go into effect this summer.

“Particularly over the past few years, the rise in injuries among young people playing contact football, both in game situations and during regular practices, demonstrates a need for us to reevaluate the programs we offer to our youngest residents,” Jill Lathan, the city’s director of Recreation and Youth, said. “Somerville Recreation has a history of providing programs and opportunities for youth of all ages and interest levels, but we also have a commitment to keep our children safe while they have fun.”

Lathan also said the recreation department will continue to support those who want to continue to play in a contact football program, like Pop Warner, through its equipment rental program, but the city will not sponsor a tackle football program for young players.

“Interest and participation in flag football is increasing both in Somerville and nationwide, and we are excited to be able to offer the program here in Somerville that will teach youth the necessary skills if they do choose to participate in contact football at an older age,” Lathan said.

The city seems to be following recommendations made by Dr. Bennet Omalu, famously portrayed by Will Smith in the new movie, “Concussion,” who said in an op-ed piece in the New York Times last month that there should be a minimum age to play tackle football because children’s developing brains should be protected from concussions. While few believe that the minimum age will be set at 18, as Dr. Omalu suggests, this move by Somerville shows that municipalities are taking the threat of brain injuries seriously and are taking steps to try to keep players safer.

CSEE Program Redesign

January 4, 2016

As CSEE Program participants are aware, the NASC conducted a complete review and restructuring of the course of study. A number of changes are being implemented, including: 

  • Our first online course, ready by February 2016.
  •  A commitment to at least one new online course every year with a target of two.
  • Moving to a credit system; this will allow different numbers of credits for a variety of learning events.
  • Establishment of a higher level of certification by early 2017.
  • Establishment of a partnership with Ohio University to provide expertise in online learning and reviews of each live learning session.

We are excited about this restructuring and the resulting more focused program leading to certification.

For more information about the CSEE program, please visit our website.

Don Schumacher, CSEE
Executive Director
National Association of Sports Commissions

Managing Expectations

December 29, 2015

One of the most important aspects of any tradeshow is managing expectations. There’s a reason that destinations and sports event planners see a tradeshow as a helpful marketing tool. Instead of trying to maintain relationships at arm’s length, you have a chance to actually meet the people you do business with and connect with your peers.

Attending your first sports tradeshow, however, can be a bit overwhelming and certainly confusing at times.  Conducting a little research before heading to the NASC Sports Event Symposium will go a long way.

When the online appointment portal opens, the first registered attendee from your organization will be able to view the list of registered organizations with whom you have an opportunity to meet. Doing a little research to find out if your destination or your sports event is a good match will save you a lot of time.  At the tradeshow, the 10-minute appointment will be over before you know it. Having as much information about who you are meeting with will provide you more time to establish key relationships. The more you know before you go will provide you with more confidence during your scheduled appointments.

Now let’s talk giveaways. From my experience, during your appointments, less is more when it comes to swag – especially when most of what you are giving away will end up as trash. Trying to juggle giveaways, take notes, and exchange business cards is a lot to manage. Business cards are typically all you need.  Following up after the show is the best way to continue the dialogue. If you say you will follow up with specific items, make sure you do.

You may come back with a couple of leads and you may come back with only business cards. The most important takeaway from attending the Symposium is the relationships you are beginning to cultivate.

Remember that the goal of any tradeshow marketing experience goes way beyond just making sales and closing deals. Building your brand, promoting your destination, sport, or services, networking with peers and potential new clients, and sizing up competitors in your industry are all part of the tradeshow experience. All of these takeaways should be accurately reflected as tangible goals in your tradeshow marketing efforts.

Cheryl McCullough
NASC Mentoring Committee

 

 

Off-season planning for the 2016 NASC Sports Event Symposium

December 15, 2015

It’s the season of lists. Holiday shopping, wish lists, parties, and making sure you end up on the “nice” list. In the spirit of lists, here’s your NASC 2016 Sports Event Symposium “TO DO” list. Right now is the best time to do your off-season prep, get organized, take care of the logistics, and position yourself to rock it in the new year. Grand Rapids, here we come.

(1) Get registered! You have to be there April 3-7, 2016 to take advantage of this direct selling, education, networking opportunity. It only takes a few clicks. Don’t forget the add-ons and let NASC know if this is your first Symposium. See? Easy.

(2) Make your hotel reservation. You have two choices in Grand Rapids, The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel or the JW Marriott Grand Rapids. You can’t go wrong with either property. Both have plenty of amenities and are convenient to the action at DeVos Place Convention Center. (Room blocks will sell out, so don’t delay on this one. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

(3) Book your flight/make travels plans. Local airport is GRR with plenty of lift — 6 airlines and 22 major market direct flights. Or, if you feel the need to road trip, Grand Rapids is easy to get to. Our NASC staff made the trek via car last summer from Cincinnati in under six hours with no speeding tickets (I think).

(4) Update your member profile. This is a good idea any time of the year, but especially when your potential partners are looking for you in prep for the Symposium. Logon to the NASC website and search for yourself in the member directory.  Make sure your POC is current and your message is relevant to your goals for your meetings this spring. It’s the NASC version of Googling yourself.

(5) Ok, now for additional cool stuff. The NASC Member Awards program is great way to recognize those in our industry that deserve our praise. Learn more here.

There are also opportunities to do good work and leave a mark on the local community while in Grand Rapids. Watch for details on the Sports Legacy Fund Community Service Project and get involved by joining your fellow colleagues at a local park clean up. We’d love to see everyone ready with sleeves rolled up. Don’t fret about the weather, no one froze last year! The Sports Legacy Fund silent auction and raffle will benefit the Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports Wheelchair Tennis Program. This organization assists hundreds of children and adults participate in a variety of organized team sports. Details on donating can be found here. Please, please bring your raffle ticket CA$H and your credit card with the highest limit.

(6) Get your clients to Grand Rapids. Are your current partners NASC members? Wouldn’t it be awesome to see them at the Symposium?  Why not personally invite them to join the association and meet you there. If you need membership info or would like a member of the Membership Committee to contact them, just say the word.

There you have it. Include this list with all the others. Check these items off now to be ready when the Symposium season arrives. See you in Grand Rapids. Ready…..Go!

Janna Clark, CSEE
Elizabethtown Sports Park
NASC Board of Directors
NASC Mentoring Committee

Put sports on your giving list

December 14, 2015

As you’re doing your holiday shopping this season, you can’t help but notice a plethora of requests for donations. Besides the Red Kettle on the corner, you’ll often see on your credit card checkout pad a request to add a dollar for a number of good causes, from homeless pets to meals for the hungry.

youth lacrosse

Photo courtesy of Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation

While you’re considering year-end gifts, don’t forget about some of the non-profit sports organizations in your own back yard. Whether it’s a local youth baseball team, or even the sports commission or sports corporation that may help you as a rights holder or event manager put on events, all would appreciate a donation at this time of year.

And what will that donation mean? Well, it can help continue a youth basketball program whose gym rental fee went up this year; it can help an inner-city Pop Warner football team buy new gear, including safer helmets and pads; and it can help a sports corporation pay the filing fees for new events that it wants to bring to your area.

Big or small, any gift is appreciated by these groups. And the best part of it is, you can see how that gift pays off with more sporting events and more people participating in sports. According to the U.S. Department of Education, student-athletes in the lower grades are four times more likely to attend college than their counterparts who do not play. And Up2Us Sports says student-athletes have an 11% higher graduation rate than non-athletes.

All in all, sports is a good investment, no matter what time of year it is. Putting your favorite sports non-profit on your year-end giving list helps invest in the future of sports.

The Future of Football

December 8, 2015

Before the Christmas release of the film, “Concussion,” the researcher whose work is the basis for the movie, Bennet Omalu, wrote a New York Times op-ed piece that appeared Monday, in which he says that children under age 18 should not be allowed to play full-contact football.

AFI FEST 2015 Presented By Audi Centerpiece Gala Premiere Of Columbia Pictures' "Concussion" - Arrivals

HOLLYWOOD, CA – NOVEMBER 10: Bennet Omalu attends the Centerpiece Gala Premiere of Columbia Pictures’ “Concussion” during AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi at the TCL Chinese Theatre on November 10, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Omalu likens the dangers of football to other known dangers like smoking, asbestos and alcohol, His argument is, we learned of the dangers of each, and now have education and, in some cases, laws in place to protect people from their misuse. We know about the dangers of football, he argues, and it is now time to protect young people from the head trauma that we’ve seen in older players.

Omalu is the first person to link repeated concussions and head trauma to CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative condition blamed in part for the deaths of a number of high profile NFL players, including Junior Seau and Mike Webster.

In the article, Omalu makes the point “that repetitive blows to the head in high-impact contact sports like football, ice hockey, mixed-martial arts and boxing place athletes at high risk of permanent brain damage. …Why, then, do we continue to intentionally expose our children to this risk?”

In the short term, Omalu’s proposal would change youth football to a non-contact, touch or flag football game. In the long term, though, eliminating youth football as it is played at higher levels would effectively kill the college and professional game in the United States. If youngsters don’t grow up playing the game at it exists now, there’s a slim to none chance they will pick it up when they are “of age.”

In the wake of the New York Times piece, former college and NFL quarterback Danny Kanell tweeted that “the war on football is real.” For youth football organizers, it’s time to look realistically at the dangers and work hard to make the game safer.

 

NASC Upcoming Webinars – Register Now

November 18, 2015

Mark your calendars now! We have a great line-up of both Best Practices Webinars and Event Webinars that you won’t want to miss. Check out the schedule below, and reserve your spot today!



Tips for Building Community Relationships
Best Practices Webinar
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

Building relationships within your community is essential to the success of sporting events you host. From venue support, event management, volunteer recruitment, fundraising and sponsorships, your local community holds the resources that rights holders look for when awarding events. Join Bonny Bernat of Visit Winston-Salem as she shares best practices used in hosting events in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. If you are unable to join us on the 24th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).



USA Triathlon

Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Thursday, December 17, 2015
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

Join Brian D’Amico, National Events Senior Manager, USA Triathlon, as he discusses USA Triathlon and what it takes to land their events. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 17th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).



Webinar Archives

If you’ve missed any of our recent webinars, or would like to view them again, visit our Best Practices Webinar Archives or our Event Webinar Archives.

Contact the Member Services Department if you have any questions.

Sports Tourism: A State of the Industry Report

May 18, 2015

At last month’s NASC Symposium, Dr. Lisa Delpy Neirotti from The George Washington University shared the findings from the 2014 Sports Tourism: The State of the Industry Report to the NASC membership.

The report which can be found on the NASC website provides a helpful reference for our members to share with their colleagues, rights holders and funders. The report provides the following key indicators:

• Industry at a Glance
• Industry Performance Indicators
• Operating Conditions
• Methodology of the Research

Overall, the report shares good news for our industry with visitor spending up three percent over last year at $8.96 billion and total visitors entertained in 2014 was 25.65 million.

Among those NASC members surveyed, the top three community priorities were:

• Visitor spending
• Marketing the region
• Supporting local sports franchises and venues

Once you have reviewed the report, we encourage you to share the link on your website, social media pages and with an email to your supporters and community partners.

2015 Industry Trends

February 5, 2015

Going to talk today about some trends that we see in the industry in the coming year.  And I think one of the most interesting trends for those of us that have been in the sports commission, and visitor and convention bureau industries, is the fact that park and recreation departments are becoming increasingly interested in membership in the NASC.  I find that particularly interesting, personally because we’re discovering that many park and recreation department actually create, promote, and run their own events, which makes them in the final analysis perhaps even more similar to a sports commission in many cases than a convention and visitors bureau where in the latter case there may be a focus on room nights, which is something we are going to talk about in just a minute or two.  But we welcome additional park and recreation departments to our membership.  We are at something in the range of 20 departments now, and we will be taking some steps during the year to increase that number, because they bring a lot to the table in terms of the dialogue and they’re truly qualified as active members of our association, because they’re so involved with the production of their own events.  So that would be a first trend.

The second trend starts with a question; I wonder how many of us think, what would be the case in terms of room rebates if we didn’t have a focus on room nights?  I wonder if there isn’t a direct tie in between the emphasis that a destination places and the importance that a destination places on developing room nights through sports above and beyond all other considerations.  And if by doing that, that doesn’t encourage event owners to feel that not only can there be room rebates, but the room rebates that could perhaps overtime and with a change in destinations continue to go up.  I remember being surprised when rebates were in the five to ten dollar range; I am shocked that we have managed to get in the 30+ dollar range in some cases around the country.  So I think a one of the cost on a focus on room nights could very well be increasing room rebates.  And from that stand point I think it’s good to look back 20 years ago, when sports commissions were the primary way to bid on events.  These was a tremendous focus on quality of life.  Destinations were looking for events that were going to make something exciting happen in their communities, and yes television exposure was very important.  But in the final analysis doing things like having the USA Volleyball National Women’s Team come to your destination and play another international squad with no visitor spending, was a real focus of a sports commission.  And that kind of focus does not encourage event owners to pursue room rebates, let alone commissions.  Now one the major event owners in the United States, the NCAA, moved to a commission on all room nights for all NCAA National Championships, across all divisions in 2014.  That was a seismic shift and we’ll see how that works out for the NCAA and for the destinations.  And importantly for the very people that are attending these championships, which in the final analysis are the people, all of us are supposed to be more concerned about.

And then I think finally, there is a trend in our industry that has come up at the latter part of 2014, there is a shrinkage and or consolidation of some of the events that take place every year in the sports travel industry.  The United States Olympic Committee recently made a decision to assign the rights to the SportsLink congress to the Connect Sports people, and we’re have to see how that works out.  That is a not-for-profit transfer of rights to a for profit, I rather suspect that that’ll be reflected in the cost of attending that conference, but it’s a market driven economy and we’ll see what happens.

So for the coming year, we see more park and recreation departments getting engaged in the industry, we see this puzzle about room rebates and commissions continual need to be something that we all have to focus on, and finally there some shifts and changes in industry conferences.  I can tell you that the NASC has decided to keep its independence, but we are also going to attend each of the industry conferences this year.  Thanks for your attention.