Archive for the ‘Partnerships’ Category

Building Community Relationships

February 23, 2016


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.

How do you begin?

  • Visit all prospective venues in your area. Get to know everything about them, build a relationship with their staff and learn who books their events.
    • Why?
      • A venue is usually the most critical component to a successful bid.
      • Their customers may become prospects and customers of yours.
    • Get to know all of the local clubs and sport organizations.
      • Where to find them?
        • Local news
        • Referrals
        • Google Alerts and Search Engines
        • Relationships with local venues
        • Club listings on national websites (i.e. National Governing Bodies)
      • Why?
        • They are the experts in their sport and invaluable resources in areas such as event management, vendor relationships, volunteers, and they may also have relationships with venues.
      • Reach out to local government; they may grant access to venues, provide support services, and/or offer financial support that could be essential to a successful proposal.
        • Parks and recreation departments
        • Police, fire and EMS
        • Department of Transportation
        • Elected officials such as a Mayor, City Council, County Commissioners
      • Be sure to include the business community in your outreach as they can may provide sponsorship opportunities and a pool for volunteers.

What tools are available to build and support your relationships?

  • Social media
  • Volunteering at sports events in your community
  • Join and/or serve on a board or committee for a club, organization or association
  • Create an event to bring your local sports community together to foster discussions and promote networking amongst themselves.

Bonny Bernat, CSEE
Senior Sports and Events Sales Manager
Visit Winston-Salem
NASC Mentoring Committee



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

Ron Eifert, CSEE
Senior Sales Manager
Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau

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

Finding funding: Sometimes it comes to you

July 28, 2015

So you have a great idea for a new event for your facility: It would bring in hundreds of athletes who would stay multiple days and bring in thousands of dollars to the local economy.

Or, you’d like to expand your facility, adding fields or courts, which would allow you to bring in bigger, better events. All sounds good, but the bottom line, as they say, is the bottom line: How to pay for all of this?

It’s a universal issue that all organizations, rights holders, facility operators, high school and college athletic departments or team managers face. You may have great ideas, but you don’t have the resources to fund them. Where does the money come from?

As a sports corporation or CVB, you might ask your sales staff to acquire more sponsorships or partnerships. (what your sales staff says after you leave the room, well, that’s out of our control)

We already know that more colleges and universities, especially those outside the “Power Five” conferences, are looking to beer sales at games to help fund the athletic department. A year ago, there were 21 on-campus football stadiums where any fan of legal age could grab a brew. That’s more than twice as many as five years ago.

Troy University Athletic Director John Hartwell estimated that beer would account for $200,000 in commissions for the season. According to its contract with concessionaire Sodexo, Troy receives 43 percent of gross beer sales at its 30,000-seat stadium, or better than $2 for every $5 beer.

But sometimes the money comes to you, through an endowment. A trend that started in the Ivy League and spread to other schools is now becoming the new way to save that school from paying a salary.

The most recent example? Richard Corbett, a Florida real-estate executive who served as the business manager of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign, gave $35 million to the University of Notre Dame, from which he graduated in 1960.

Of the total, $25 million will go for a new building to house the anthropology and psychology departments and a digital-media center. He also directed $10 million of the gift to endow the university’s head football coach position.

In another case, Xavier’s men’s basketball coach, Chris Mack, is now the Sedler Family Men’s Head Basketball Coach after Tom and Genny Sedler provided Xavier with the endowment to fund Coach Mack’s salary. The endowment basically allows the university to take the money that would go to salaries and use it somewhere else.

The academic side has been doing this for decades, as donors have funded the “so-and-so-chair for chemical engineering research” at universities around the country. So how can you get the endowment idea to work for you?

It might come in the form of a civic-minded philanthropist who wants to fund a new soccer or basketball complex, or a company that can use foundation dollars to help a community cause while getting its name out in public.

This is a time we all have to be creative to find sponsorship and partnership dollars. Doing a form of an endowment might be the way to get your project from the drawing board, into the community.

ball field

How NASC Members Can Manage the Impact of the 2015 Small Package Rate Increases

December 15, 2014

Both FedEx and UPS announced their annual small package rate increases. The UPS rate increases will take effect on December 29, 2014, while the FedEx rate increases will take effect on January 5, 2015. As always, how much more expensive your particular small package shipments will be in the New Year largely depends on many factors, including shipment volumes, sizes, weights, and modes.

Here are some quick facts:

  • Dimensional weight pricing will now apply to all FedEx Ground and UPS Ground shipments.
  • FedEx Express package and freight rates will increase an average of 4.9% for U.S., U.S export and U.S. import services.
  • FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery rates will increase an average of 4.9%.
  • UPS Ground, Air and International rates will increase an average of 4.9%.

The small package shipping experts at PartnerShip have dug into the details and analyzed the new rate tables to assess the true impact to shippers and help you make sense of these increases. Click here to download the Small Package Rate Increases ePaper.

Now is the time to take full advantage of the benefits available to you through the NASC Shipping Program. When you visit and enroll in this free program, you receive significant discounts on select FedEx® services – helping to offset these new rate increases.

This tip is brought to you by PartnerShip®, the company that manages the NASC Shipping Program. For more information or to enroll, email or call 800-599-2902.

Mascot Mania: Making Community Connections

October 6, 2014

A mascot can be more than a tiger roaming the sidelines of a game, it can serve as an ambassador for year-round fan engagement.

Consider this: A couple of weeks ago, Texas A&M’s live mascot, Reveille, a female rough collie, was saved from impending injury when an A&M cadet stepped between her and an SMU receiver and blocked the receiver from crashing into the dog. That got a lot of airplay and, for the cadet, got him a free pair of senior boots worth more than $1,000, paid for by the commandant of the Corps for his heroism. (you can read a play by play breakdown of the best block of the game here:

So, the mascot earned Texas A&M great publicity and connected the school with the community and sports fans everywhere.

Think about adding a mascot to do the same for your organization?

For example, Kentucky Speedway for years had  ‘Horsepower,’ its community mascot. (pictured) Horsepower would be part of many community events that might not have had a thing to do with auto racing, such as mascot broomball every winter. Horsepower also has led library reading programs, participated in flag football at halftime of NFL games and been part of mascot foot races at Cincinnati Reds games.

Even though Kentucky Speedway is a venue with a handful of events throughout the year, its mascot ‘Horsepower’ helped keep Kentucky Speedway in front of the community, and consumers, throughout the year by having a presence at events.

Libraries have mascot reading dogs. Recycle services have mascot recycle bins (really). The idea is less about developing an expensive mascot, and more about keeping your organization, sports commission or venue in front of the community 24/7, 365.

Remember, it’s your community that supports your group with sponsorships, volunteers and ticket sales. Having a mascot is a fun and simple way to engage the community on a year-round basis.


SportAccord 2012 Recap

June 5, 2012

The NASC was well represented at this year’s SportAccord Convention in Quebec City. SportAccord is owned by the international federations of summer and winter sports. It also attracts the meetings of the International Olympic Committee, and was the site for the announcement of the three finalist cities for the 2020 Olympic Games (Madrid, Istanbul, and Tokyo).

The United States Olympic Committee and the IOC also announced the resolution of their long simmering dispute over distribution of revenues from television and international sponsors. This dispute has made it difficult, if not impossible, for our cities to obtain a future Olympic Games (New York and Chicago both suffered under this dispute). The USOC is expected to begin assembling its strategy for a future bid later this month.

We have pressed for several years to schedule a meeting between international bid city representatives. Although it is common for cities in the USA and Canada to meet and discuss topics of interest, this is much less common everywhere else.

As far as we can determine, the City-to-City  session in Quebec City was the first time cities have met alone (with no consultants or suppliers and no international federations) to discuss topics of interest.

At the conclusion of the three hour session there was agreement to pursue additional meetings at future conferences, and to use input from the participants to plan for next year’s SportAccord in St. Petersburg, Russia.

SportAccord 2012 attracted 1800 people from across the globe. I have been honored to have assisted in seven of the ten conferences since its inception in 2003 in Madrid. The NASC places a high value on its relationship with SportAccord. We will continue to represent the USA at future conferences, and feel it is getting to the point where a USA Pavilion could be created. Our friends in Canada have had a Canadian cities pavilion for several years.

International championships can be costly ventures, and many countries have government programs in place to support bids. I was interested to learn that the Province of Quebec was increasing its annual budget in support of sports events from $4 to $8 million!

Must be nice.

– Don

Sports Commission and CVB Relations

January 10, 2012

The topic of CVB and sport commission relations continues to pop up in our industry’s discussions.  It’s not surprising.  The topic has been around since before the NASC’s founding!  It’s pretty obvious—and there are far too many examples—anytime there is a CVB and sports commission in the same city, there is a chance conflict might arise.  Squabbles over resources, poorly assigned responsibilities, and claims of credit are far too common.

Sometimes missions overlap and often personalities clash.

Unresolved fights not only hurt both organizations, but also create inefficiencies that place a community at a disadvantage in sport event recruitment.  None of this has to be the case.  It would be nice to be able to say that resolution or avoidance of conflicts is easily corrected; they are not.  Let’s  look at some strategies to find methods that work for a few areas.

Personalities:    To work in our business, a strong personality is a required organizational leadership asset.  Pig-headedness should not be part of this definition.  If there are conflicts between organizations’ leaders, each should look to find ways to end the strife.  Without resolution of personality conflicts, eventually one of two bad things will happen.  Someone will lose or both will lose.  Nobody “wins” when stubbornness prevails.

Overlapping Missions:   Communities cannot afford two organizations with overlapping missions.  Eventually—especially in tough times—community business and political leaders may be forced to make choices.  Often the culprit in having two organizations that conflict is the governance by their respective boards.  Executive directors who desire cooperation should engage their board members, review the organization’s mission, and better define goals and objectives.   If you can’t build complementary organizational relationships, you can expect one (or both) organizations to face scrutiny and public questioning about your stewardship of community resources.

Duplicative Efforts:  Concentration on what your organization does best is a successful approach to consider and effective coordination with destination partners can avoid duplication.  There is enough variation in how sports commissions and convention bureaus meet community needs to avoid having each do the same work.  In our community, we brought in outside consultants to help us focus our sport and other tourism organizations to fit into the overall destination brand and marketing efforts.  We learned what we each do best and gained mutual respect for each group’s competence.

Claiming Credit:   Think about sharing credit because claiming credit for success is a trap.  If two groups have jointly gone after an event, it is obvious they should share credit.  Not so obvious is that even if you had the most to do with bringing an event to town, there is no harm to share the win!  The “Golden Rule” might be something to consider.  Besides if you claim credit on a regular basis, when projections aren’t met, getting blamed might just follow.

About the Guest Contributor – Jack Hughes, CSEE is the Executive Director of the  Gainesville Sports Commission, the 20-plus- year-old sports commission formerly known as the Gainesville Sports Organizing Committee. The GSC works closely with its tourism partner, VisitGainesville to host as many as 40 sports events annually. Prior to this he served on the Gainesville/Hall County (Georgia) Sports Council and CVB. His more than 25 years of experience includes the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics, the Centennial Olympic Games, three Olympic Festivals, 1993 World University Games, the US National Hot Air Balloon Championship and the original Earth Day. Hughes is a Certified Sports Event Executive (CSEE) and served as the Chair of the NASC in 2008-2009.

Finding ways to become more engaged in international sport

July 8, 2011

Why don’t we hold more international sports events in the United States?  When you look around at what is happening your search takes you outside our country, and quickly! Why is this? I believe the primary factor is cost.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and each of the International Federations in Olympic Sport require significant commitments from prospective host cities. We read and hear a lot about the costs of both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. We do not hear nearly as much about the requirements from the international federations (IFs).

I was very fortunate to be president of the arena and a member of the executive committee for the 1987 World Figure Skating Championships. Figure skating and gymnastics have rotational policies that do insure that a U.S .city will get the chance to host a world championship. Cincinnati became the host by winning the competition among other U.S. cities. Once selected we then needed to work with through the United States Figure Skating Association to be certain the International Skating Union’s requirements would be met. We spent three years preparing for the event, and it was an experience of a lifetime.

Last year’s World Equestrian Games in Lexington was the first time for that competition was held in the U.S.A.  It required a very significant commitment from the Commonwealth of Kentucky to get the bid. It also required a world-wide fund raising campaign to find additional funding.

It is interesting to note that most international conferences on sport focus on the Olympic Games and world championships. Grass roots, or participant based events, receive little attention. In this country, these events account for 95% of the business.

Because we do not have the luxury of financial support from our federal government, and because it is very difficult to get help from states or even our own cities, most of you do not focus on the international market. It is possible to host a “friendly” from time to time in soccer or volleyball, two sports that routinely conduct international team competitions, but world championships have proven difficult to obtain.

Our neighbors in Canada do have the possibility of provincial and federal government support, and consequently host more major international championships.

We have made a commitment to explore with Canada ways in which we can work together to create or host more events. The world gets smaller and it is time to find ways to become more engaged in what is a very big world of international sport.

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.


Recycled Soap From 2011 NASC Sports Event Symposium Will Save Lives

April 29, 2011

The National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) and the SportsEvents Media Group teamed up with the non-profit organization Clean the World to recycle soap and hotel ammenities at the 2011NASC Sports Event Symposium.

During the conference, which took place April 12-14, 2011 at the Sheraton Greensboro Four Seasons in
Greensboro, North Carolina, 150 lbs of soap was collected which will provide soap to 170 children for one month. Clean the World has put over four million soap bars and 200,000 pounds of shampoo and conditioner back into human use, simultaneously eliminati ng over 380 tons of waste.

“We’re really pleased to sponsor the Clean the World recycling program during the 2011 NASC Symposium,” said J. Talty O’Connor, founder and president of SportsEvents Media Group. “In conversations with our readers, it is clear that sports event organizers are more interested than ever in planning ‘green’ sports competitions. We all need to make every effort possible to reduce the environmental impact of our activities and events. This is one small way of fulfilling our ongoing commitment toward corporate social responsibility.”

The NASC Sports Event Symposium brings together serious minded professionals in the sports event industry for three days of educati on, the NASC Sports Marketplace where potential host cities and sports event planners meet in one-on-one pre-scheduled appointments, and unique networking opportunities. Future conference dates are April 17– 19, 2012 in Hartf ord, CT and April 23-25, 2013 in Louisville, KY.

The Nati onal Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) is the sports event industry’s leading networking organization. Founded in 1992, the NASC represents over 500 organizations across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The NASC provides educati on, networking, and professional development to the sports event industry. For more informati on visit

Clean the World is committ ed to reducing the waste created by discarded soap and shampoo products and collects these items from hotels to be recycled and distributed to domestic homeless shelters and impoverished people worldwide, helping to prevent deaths caused by hygiene- related illnesses. Clean the World Foundation,Inc. is a non- -profi t, 501(c) (3) tax- -exempt charitable organizati on. For more information visit


Kind Regards