Archive for the ‘sports event industry’ Category

Thoughts from the MPI World Education Conference

August 19, 2014

MPIEver think there are never enough hours in the day? Or that you’re the only person who returns emails on a regular basis? Don’t fret, you’re not the only one who deals with those issues, and more. At the Meeting Professionals International World Education Conference August 2-5 at Minneapolis, a number of speakers offered tips and suggestions on how to put on great meetings, no matter what the challenge.

One of the highlights of the opening day was the keynote by bestselling author Deepak Chopra, discussing his concept of “wellness real estate” and healthy indoor environments at the home, the office and where we meet. Related to his speech was the session, “Serve This, Not That,” on what we as meeting planners order from food & beverage for our events and meetings. Just asking the right questions of caterers can make choices healthier for attendees and save planners money.

Also top of mind for many in the sports events business is best use of time. The Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) initiatives helps meeting and event planners organize their responsibilities, and the WEC session on APEX Savings Time helped explain the best use of this industry standard.

Want to use more video but aren’t sure how to go about it? “Video=Euphoric Results” offered great tips on using videos in marketing plans in lieu of the unread email backup that frustrates both the planner, and the person wanting more information.

mpi 2“The MPI World Education Congress is my go to event each year for education and best practices for the meetings and events industry,” says Beth Hecquet, CMP, CMM, Director of Meetings and Events for the National Association of Sports Commissions.  “The 2014 sessions were exceptional and I have brought back to the NASC offices innovative ideas to try and information to guide us as we plan the 2015 NASC Symposium in Milwaukee next April.”


 

Prospecting in the NASC Sports Marketplace

August 18, 2014

Let’s talk for a few minutes about Sports Marketplaces. The NASC developed the first Sports Marketplace in the late nineties and since then it’s become an intricate part of the annual NASC Sports Event Symposium. And looking at the recent responses from our meeting in Oklahoma City, we can tell that your interest in the sports marketplace is as high as or higher than ever, and it turns out to be the number one reason why many of you attend the symposium and we understand that. One of the questions I would ask you though is to determine for yourself whether you’re prepared for the sports marketplace before you begin. And now we’re talking from the cities point of view, because one of the concerns, I personally have is, that many of you are relatively inexperienced in the industry are expecting to go to the Sports Event Marketplace and pick up business in 10 to 12 minutes, when you’re not even sure whether your destination can host the events you’re talking about. How do you fix that?

First, don’t go to a Sports Marketplace until you know the kinds of events you can host, and which age groups, and why. And if you don’t know that, you’re going to have to find somebody to help you determine what you can do before you talk to anybody. Because what happens is, a very simple prophecy is fulfilled if you don’t know whether you can handle the event or not, and you show the event owner in a sports marketplace appointment that that’s the case, what you’re doing is losing the business, rather than gaining the business.

What’s a proper approach to a sports marketplace appointment? Be prepared, be absolutely ready with what you can do and don’t take appointments with people who have events that you can’t handle. How do you find out where these events are? You go to the Rights Holder section of our database and you can find hundreds of event owners, and you can determine by sport which ones you ought to be talking to. And it makes common sense, to go ahead and do your homework before you go to the marketplace, at all.

Now, there has been some thought about restricting appointments at the marketplace to people who have been members and have attended the symposium for at least two years, and not have marketplace appointments with new people. That, of course, is not what we are going to do. Instead, I think you’re going to find the NASC to rely itself increasingly on Rapid RFP Review sessions; where an event rights holder meets with 10 or 12, or 15 of you at one time, “Here’s what we’ve got, this is what we’re looking for, go off do your homework. When you know you have it, get in touch with us, let’s talk then.” That’s a great way to do this. What is not a great way is to say to yourself before you arrive on-site for a sports marketplace series of appointments, is all I have to do to be successful in this business is to have a bunch of appointments, talk to a bunch of people, I’ll make friends and they’ll want to do business with me.” That’s not the way this business works, never has, never will, and it will be a waste of your time and a waste of the other event owners time, also.

I wish you well in all of your marketplace appointments, but I also, would wish preparation and the understanding that in 10 to 12 minutes you can lose a relationship faster than you can gain one. It is a terrific way to go back and say hi to old friends and acquaintances, and remind them that you are still interested in doing business with them. It is a terrible way to show people that you’re too new to know what’s going on.

Video blog: Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director
National Association of Sports Commissions
513.281.3888     –     http://www.sportscommissions.org 
Published  August 18, 2014

NASC and its members featured in this week’s SportsBusiness Journal: The Big Business of Sports Tourism

August 7, 2014

NASC SBJThe NASC and many of our members are featured in an 18-page special advertising section in this week’s SportsBusiness Journal. The section highlights the evolution of sports tourism and the history of NASC and its members as the pioneers for sports-related travel.

Special thanks to all of our members who supported the issue as advertisers:

  • Greater Columbus Sports Commission
  • Sioux Falls CVB
  • Oklahoma City CVB
  • Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance
  • Frisco CVB
  • Palm Beach County Sports Commission
  • Birmingham CVB
  • The Sports Facilities Advisory
  • Maryland Sports
  • VisitPittsburgh
  • Elizabethtown Sports Park
  • Visit Jacksonville
  • Massachusetts Sports Marketing Office
  • Myrtle Beach Sports Center
  • Rocky Top Sports World
  • Pensacola Sports Association

Be sure to check it out now!

NASC Board of Directors Meets for Summer Retreat

July 22, 2014

Membership services and professional development were two of the main topics covered at the 2014 National Association of Sports Commissions Board of Directors Summer Retreat, held July 16-18 at the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s office in downtown Indianapolis.

The meeting is the yearly opportunity for the Board to discuss topics that affect the long-term growth and viability of the NASC, and how NASC can best serve its members.

“We see the summer retreat as a great way to proactively look at the issues facing the NASC and its member organizations,” said Kevin Smith, CSEE, director of the St. Petersburg/ Clearwater Sports Commission and the chair of the Board of Directors. “We use this time to discuss some of the ways we can help our members be even more productive.”

Topics during the retreat included CSEE and professional development for members, Association meetings and events, and new membership services.

The Board also heard from Mark Lewis, executive vice president for championships and alliances of the NCAA, on the changing environment of college sports.

“These topics affect how our membership does business in the competitive sports tourism industry,” said Greg Ayers, CSEE, president and CEO of Discover Kalamazoo and Vice Chair/Chair-Elect of the Board. “The Board wants to find new ways, from education to networking, to help our members establish themselves as leaders in this field.”

The next professional development opportunity for members is the CSEE Fall Module and Market Segment Meetings, co-located with the USOC Olympic Sportslink at the Hilton Chicago on Monday, September 22 and Tuesday, September 23. For information and registration, visit http://sportscommissions.org/MarketSegmentMeetings.

Jackie Reau
Game Day Communications
700 West Pete Rose Way
Cincinnati, Ohio 45203

(513) 929-4263, office
(513) 708-5822, mobile
(513) 929-0245, fax

jreau@gamedaypr.com
www.gamedaypr.com
LinkedIn: JackieReau
Facebook: JackieReau
Twitter:@JackieReau

NASC Video Blog – Defining the Roles of Sports Commissions and Convention & Visitors Bureaus

July 14, 2014

We’re often asked, should we develop a sports commission into our marketplace?  What’s the difference between a sports commission, and convention and visitors bureau?  I would like to refer all of you that are members of the NASC to this report which is available in the member’s only section of our website under Research and Reports where we carefully define the separate roles of a sports commission and convention and visitors bureau.  We think that’s a great first place when you consider whether a sports commission is going to be right for your market or not.

But beyond that, once you’ve understood the fundamental differences between a sports commission and a CVB the big issue that you need to come down to is funding, because a sports commission, if it is not part of a convention and visitors bureau, is going to have to figure out what kinds of sources are in the community for sustainable funding to keep that organization alive.  Clearly, if you decide that your sports commission or your sports authority is going to be a department of you convention and visitors bureau the funding with doubtless come primarily from the hotel tax that is levied in your marketplace.  But if you’re an independent and we have about eighty sports commissions in the United States that are independent from convention and visitors bureaus, then funding becomes the single biggest issue.  So, before you get started down the road of a sports commission establish the kind of budget you think you need and then address the real hard question of, can we raise that kind of money?  Because there’ll often be 300, 400, 500 thousand dollars to fund a sports commission in a marketplace, when you stop to think of an annual budget in a convention and visitors bureau it’s easy to understand that a sports commission could require investments of that size.  Now not all sports commissions are that big, some are much smaller, but it depends on the role that you expect the sports commission to play in your marketplace.  Fundraising can come from corporate community members, and one of the key differentiators in your market is the number of headquarters organizations versus the number of branch offices.  A branch office will never be able to support you as effectively as the home headquarters of an organization will, that is in your community and dedicated to what’s good and what’s growing in your community, and I think you can all understand that.

The room tax is a second possibility for funding; some sports commissions even though they’re independent of a convention bureau receive some portion of their funding from the convention bureau in recognition for the room nights that they are producing in the community.  There are also some sports commissions in the United States that have become a line item in the city or county budget, where they actually receive a set amount of money each year.  Of course they have to go back and fight for that money in every new budget process, but some public funding is available from time to time for communities.

Memberships, charging memberships for both corporations and individuals are ways in which some sports commissions have funded their operations, and also fundraisers.  Whether it’s a series of luncheons, an annual sports banquet where you celebrate the value of sport in your community and bring in a high powered speaker, and try to raise substantial amounts of money.  And never forget the fact that sports commission have the ability to put themselves in their own budgets, and when the day is done and the events over, an amount of money can be transferred from the event account to the sports commission account, in recognition for the contribution that the sports commission has made.

So, as we conclude, a couple of things to keep in mind: number one if you’re going to create a sports commission dedicated lines of funding are all important, and number two, sports commissions don’t always consider room  nights as the single most essential reason for their being.  Most sports commissions, frankly, and this is true in this report, and its pointed out here, and we tried to point it out very clearly, most sports commissions are thinking about quality of life issues for their community.  They love room nights, but they are really looking for events that are going to make a difference in the lives of the people in their community, and not necessarily the events that will produce the largest number of room nights.

We hope these thoughts on sports commissions and convention and visitors bureaus are helpful to you.  Certainly we’d be happy to answer your questions at anytime, just call us here in Cincinnati and we’d be happy to talk about it.

Video blog: Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director
National Association of Sports Commissions
513.281.3888     –     http://www.sportscommissions.org 
Published  July 14, 2014

Creating Your Own Events

June 30, 2014

I’m Don Schumacher, Executive Director of the National Association of Sports Commissions and I’d like to demonstrate to you here for just a moment our commitment to personal fitness.  Everyone on our staff is now equipped with an exercise ball chair, and we think it’s a great way to keep fit.  And it’s a great way for me to start out a video where I talk briefly to you about creating your own events.  We’ve talked about this for years around the NASC and we thought we’d give you a brief video that would just have a few topics on it that I’ve put down on paper here.

How do you do it?  How do you create your own event?  One of the best ways to do it is to find an event in your community that’s already bringing visiting teams to the area.  Meet with the organizers of that event and see what’s holding back the total number of teams that are coming into the area from out of town.  It might be that they just can’t handle the hotels; it might be that they need help finding more fields or courts; it might be that the total weight of the whole organization of the event is more than they can handle on their own.  Once you find out what’s holding them back, look for ways to solve the problem: find volunteers for them, help them put the hotel block together, set up a Stay to Play system if one is needed, create a goodie bag system, where that event has discount coupons to area attractions, restaurants, and so forth.   In short, help an existing event grow.

If you’d rather start from scratch, then you logically go for the sport that you’re best equipped to handle.  Might be its girls fast pitch; you might have enough diamonds that that’s really the sweet spot for your community.  Meet with your local fast pitch community, find out if they’re well connected or well enough connected in the fast pitch softball community regional to be able to reach out and find teams that will come and spend the night while they’re participating in your marketplace.  One of the best ways to put these events together is to stress the many things that people can see and do while they’re in your area.  We’ve talked a lot in the industry about mini-vacations, and that’s certainly true when you’re creating your own events.  And why obliviously are you going to create your own event?  You’re going to create your own event so you don’t have to bid on it every year, and you’ll find that once an events established it can grow off its own accord.  I’d like to suggest,  there’s kind of a rule of thumb, if a team is going to come from 100 plus miles out, they’re going to be inclined to stay overnight, because that’s just too much of a distance to travel each way, back and forth.

And a final suggestion, financial stipends.  If you’re helping a tournament grow, that’s being locally produced and they need financial help one of the best ways you can help them is to provide them with two, three, four thousand dollars, whatever the reasonable amount of money would be in your market, which stipulation that that moneys going to be used to promote teams coming to your market from a travel destination.  So that you can be assured your money is not only being used to promote the event but its helping to build the overnight business.

There will be plenty more to say about creating events over the coming years but these are some of the hints that we found helpful.

Video blog: Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director
National Association of Sports Commissions
Published on June 30, 2014

Why Sports Matter

June 23, 2014

Because we’re in the business of sports, we’re used to talking about the economic impact that sports has on our respective communities. It brings jobs, a livelihood, a spark of energy, a sense of excitement to our host areas.

But let’s take a second to look at the human factor of sports, and what it means for the coming generations.

All you have to do is look at the recent NBA Finals series between San Antonio and Miami. Both teams have been basketball powerhouses for several years, and have been in the media spotlight for longer than that. Expand that to the states in which they are located, Texas and Florida, and the NBA Finals have been held in one or both of these states eight times in the last 10 years.

That’s a lot of home town fans watching the best players in the league. No, scratch that, it means that’s a lot of home town kids watching the best players, and wanting to be like them.

According to the Florida High School Athletic Association survey, almost 900 more boys were playing basketball in the state last year than 10 years ago. In Texas, that state’s high school athletic association found there are 55 more high schools with boys’ basketball teams now, than five years ago.

Miami coach Eric Spoelstra has seen the change in just the short time he’s been in South Florida. “When I first got down here it was only a football city,” he said, “but now you’re starting to see a legion of kids and young generation of NBA fans that weren’t necessarily here 15, 20 years ago.”

More NBA fans means more boys and girls growing up playing basketball, developing a love of the game and, just as importantly, developing the skills to play the game at a higher level. That can mean scholarships for families who otherwise couldn’t afford to send a child to college and, consequently, the chance for a better job, a solid career, a better life for future generations.

All because San Antonio and Miami played in the NBA Finals.

And that’s just one more reason, why sports matter.

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Jackie Reau

Game Day Communications
700 West Pete Rose Way
Cincinnati, Ohio 45203

(513) 929-4263, office
(513) 708-5822, mobile
(513) 929-0245, fax

jreau@gamedaypr.com

www.gamedaypr.com

LinkedIn: JackieReau
Facebook: JackieReau
Twitter:@JackieReau

NASC Video Blog – Room Rebates

June 16, 2014

I’d like to talk to you for a few minutes about one of the biggest challenges we face in the sports event travel industry and those of you who attended our recent Symposium in Oklahoma City know that at one point during proceedings I mentioned this challenge, and the challenge is the increased reliance on room rebates and commissions to properly fund events.  It’s a serious development in our industry, one that 20 years ago did not even exist.  But today we are seeing an increased reliance on the part of either by event owner, destination, or by several groups combined to apply room rebates to properly fund an event, instead of watching the budget or perhaps instead of charging more for the team registration fee.

Now we all realize what happens, an event owner takes a look at the registration fees that other event owners are charging and they decide they can’t raise the rates, so one temptation is we won’t raise our rates, we’ll increase the room rebate.  I’m not sure I understand when the hotel and hotel room rates were suddenly the focal point of the sports event travel industry. It’s a disturbing trend folks.  If under one set of circumstances, a room rebate is applied for say $5 a night to pay for increased cost of officials or referees and when teams register they’re told there is an extra $5 for offsetting the cost of officials or referees and the room rate itself is reasonable, there is no problem, and the event can take place.  But let’s be honest with ourselves, one reason we came to the Stay to Play concept was to capture room rebates and the commissions attached through a third party booker.  That’s why we went to stay to play and that’s why, although it might not be 50% of the events in the US, a very large percentage of events in the US are Stay to Play today.

Let’s say the event takes place and the event goes off without a hitch, except for one thing.  The hotel room rate instead of being, say $100, is $120 plus tax every night, what’s going to happen?  Those parents are going to leave saying, “boy, it was a great event but we are never coming back to X Hotel, or XYZ destination again because its’ too expense”.  Those of you who are event owners aren’t getting away with anything under those conditions, because the truth is there should be fewer cities in the future to bid on those events once the word gets out.

So let’s all think this through, let’s all realize that when room rebates and commissions get out of control the people who pay the freight are the very people we work so hard to get to our destinations and if they leave dissatisfied they’re ultimately going to be dissatisfied with the industry.  Now how can we control this? First of all those of you who are setting the rebates and setting the commission rates need to keep them under tight control.  And secondly, the destination that are saying yes to some of these deals need to say start saying no to some of these deals because the cost is too high.  If an event needs, and now this is my personal opinion, if an event has to get more than say $15 a night in total commissions and room rebates, maybe that event shouldn’t take place.  And I certainly would submit that it might be a very good idea that destinations stop bidding on the event.  I’m just saying.

Video blog: Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director
National Association of Sports Commissions
Published on June 16, 2014

Safety in Youth Sports

June 9, 2014

We’ve heard a lot about the effect of concussions and other health and injury issues in front of the National Football League. The concerns over sports safety now have reached the White House recently, where President Obama brought in representatives from professional sports leagues, coaches, parents, youth sports players and researchers to discuss the issue of youth sports concussions.

At the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit, groups such as the NFL, National Institutes of Health and the Pop Warner Little Scholars pledged money and other support to help in the research for safer materials to give young athletes better protection in their respective sports.

The genesis for much of this came in a report last fall from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, calling for a national system of tracking sports concussions—including how often young athletes suffer concussions and in what sports.

Anyone who is involved in youth sports wants to see the safety of the athletes be front and center. And the issue of safety has some a long way in the last few years, with soccer and lacrosse players now wearing improved protective headgear and youth football players now being taught to tackle with their heads up, the goal being to protect from head and spinal injuries.

Still, the issue of youth concussions is top of mind for a lot of parents who want to keep  their kids safe. A report in the Wall Street Journal in January shows youth participation in the four most popular team sports—basketball, soccer, baseball and football—fell by roughly four percent from 2008 and 2012. In the same article, the National Federation of State High School Associations shows football participation dropped 2.3 percent in the 2012 season from 2008.

The causes of declines in youth sports aren’t clear. Experts cite everything from increasing costs to excessive pressure on kids in youth sports to cuts in school physical-education programs along with the safety concerns. The long-term issue is the health of children who become more sedentary, while the short term concern for cities and organizations who are the hosts for youth sports is keeping events going, and going strong, in your home town.

Keeping kids healthy while keeping them safe through sports is good for host organizations as well as for the next generation. Seeing top organizations start to invest in the safety issues is the next step in making sure youth sports continue to flourish.

The Quest for Sponsorships

May 12, 2014

If you are of a certain age, you probably remember weekend afternoons in front of the TV set, watching Chris Schenkel call the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) tournament of the week. Big names like Dick Weber and Don Carter would compete every week in a sport that a lot of us played at our hometown lanes. It was a big deal if there was a PBA stop near you.

And, it hasn’t been that long ago, in March of 2000, that the PBA tour got a jolt of enthusiasm (and cash) when former Microsoft executives Chris Peters, Rob Glaser and Mike Slade resurrected the tour, albeit for a short time. By 2009, when the economy was starting to take a hit, so did the PBA Tour, cutting the number of tour stops and overall events, with many of the tournament finals now shown on tape instead of live. In between the Professional Women’s Bowling Association went out of business in 2003, and now men and women compete equally on the tour.

Now, the latest, and possibly, final blow to a once proud tour, the U.S. Open, one of the top bowling tournaments in the country, has been canceled for the second year in a row after the Bowling Proprietors Association of America failed to find sponsors. This year’s Open already had been scratched—now, the 2015 Open also has fallen victim to the lack of sponsorship.

The BPAA says it costs about a half million dollars to put on the Open, money that they have not been able to raise. They say it’s because advertisers like to reach the 18 to 35 year old crowd, a crowd sponsors don’t think they can reach at the lanes. But those advertisers may be victim to stereotypes.

A 2012 Experian Simmons National Consumer Survey found that more than 51 million adults ages 18 and over, and perhaps more significantly, 19 million youths aged 6 to 17, are bowling, and 2012 was the fifth straight year that participation in bowling grew.

Here are some more facts from that Experian survey: The average income of a bowling household is nearly $68,000 a year, more than 46% of those households had incomes of $75,000 a year or more, and almost 32% of them had household incomes of more than $100,000. What advertiser WOULDN’T want that demographic?

You want younger demos? High school bowling is one of the fastest growing high school sports in the country, with more than 5,000 schools offering bowling programs with more than 50,000 participating in 47 states. Collegiate bowling is growing by more than 10 percent a year, and the sport is recognized at the NCAA, NJCAA and NAIA levels.

The lesson? Do your research. Do your homework when looking for sponsors to match up with your events. Presenting potential sponsors with facts and figures for their target audience may help save—and even grow—your home town events.

 

Bowling blog

“Celebritizing” Your Event

May 12, 2014

The 118th running of the Boston Marathon was marked with, of course, great emotion and even larger crowds, both running and spectating. It also had its share of celebrity, as the famous, the almost famous and wanna-be-famous looked to showed their support for the event and, usually, run for a good cause.

Among the glitterati: Former New England Patriot Teddy Bruschi; NBC Today Show news anchor Natalie Morales; Jim Wahlberg, brother of Boston stalwarts (and singer/actors) Mark and Donnie Wahlberg; Donnie’s New Kids on the Block compatriot Joey McIntyre and many others.

Of course, when you have a celebrity connected to your event, you are expecting a measure of publicity surrounding that celebrity. Note the Red Carpet treatment at the Kentucky Derby, from the famous Barnstable Brown Pre-Derby party (this year’s guest list includes Kings of Leon, Miranda Lambert, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Boy Band alum Joey Fatone and Mary Wilson from the Supremes) to the big screen celeb introductions at the Derby itself.

So, you say what does Joey Fatone have to do with my local 3-on-3 basketball tournament? Well, more than you might think. Let’s go with the premise that celebrities draw coverage. Every area has a morning news show host or a wacky weatherman or traffic reporter who often is sent out into the community for feature opportunities. Say, you have the wacky weatherman go one on one with one of your basketball athletes-the younger the better-and your athlete scores a basket faster than you can spell H-O-R-S-E.

That’s great TV. And, you get publicity for your event, publicity that you could never get just sending out a news release on the event. Remember, there’s lots of time to fill on local morning news shows these days, and if you can offer something different and entertaining for the morning show to cover, a camera will follow.

That’s another reason that media days before an event (think golf) are a big hit. The sports anchor and a camera person (sometimes they’re one and the same) get a nice lunch at a nice golf course, do an interview with the defending champion, then stick around for a few holes of golf at a course they wouldn’t be able to play otherwise. You get publicity for your event, for the cost of lunch.

So don’t hesitate to celebritize your event, from a publicity stunt to honorary coaches from the local radio/TV stations, to having the local sports anchor emcee your awards dinner or closing ceremonies. From the Boston Marathon to 3-on-3 basketball, it works.

 

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