Archive for the ‘tournaments’ Category

How to Successfully Prospect

January 26, 2016

Sporting events represent an opportunity to showcase and to make a significant economic impact on your community.  Where should you start in the process of securing events and meetings?

Strengths:

To be effective with your time, you need is to evaluate what events could work in your area, especially the resources that you have available for your use.  These resources are primarily facilities and people.

  • What types of facilities do you have available to host events? Don’t limit your vision to “major” complexes.  There are a variety of options that may work including city facilities, parks, colleges, public and private schools, open spaces, hotels and even your roads.
  • Who in your community has interest, expertise and understanding of sports? Do they have relationships with event planners and will they be an advocate for you?  Who has access to recruiting volunteers who are knowledgeable with sport? Who will help collaborate to bring events to your community and to insure that they are successful?

Opportunities:

The variety and number of available meetings and events is extensive.  There are events that will work for all regions and others that you should not pursue.  There is no reason to spend any resources on pursuing a downhill skiing event if you live in Florida.  Some other topics for event marketers to explore include:

  • What types of events could work in your community?
    • Which events have a significant fan and participant base in your area?
    • What sports have an interest in growing or breaking into your area?
    • What events work in your facilities? What events have similar elements to those events?
    • What events are the facility managers interested in pursuing?
  • Look at what similar towns/cities in your area and in the country are doing. What is your competition hosting?
  • When are there “holes” in your City’s calendar, where bringing in events would make the biggest economic impact? If you live in a beach community, perhaps a winter event would have more impact than a July event when your community is already busy.

Resources / History:

There is no need to reinvent the wheel.  As a member of the National Association of Sports Commissions, you have access to research, meetings and events that are available for bid and access to other NASC members.  Utilize these resources.

Part of the vetting process is to research the history of the events and event organizers.  Are the elements in their RFP realistic? Is bidding on this event and making an investment in time, and potentially money, going to have a return on your investment?  Does history confirm their claims of room nights and economic impact?  Do they pay their bills?  Use the internet as a tool and call the CVBs / Sports Commissions that have hosted these events in the past.

Many RFPs are a starting point in the bid / negotiation process.  Many event planners will ask for everything and the kitchen sink up front.  After vetting the event and deciding that it is something that you want to pursue, even if you can’t match all of the bid elements, feel free to counter offer and make your pitch on why the event would be successful in your community.

Bidding:

Make sure that the event makes sense for your community.  It may be okay to take a loss on an event if it helps you gain exposure, grow your event portfolio or lead to other events.  Take a long range view of event procurement.

Let the event planner know the strengths of your community including who will be involved in the bid and execution of the event if you win it.   Why should the event come to your community?  Can you draw spectators and participants?  What is your experience in the sport?  Can your community provide expertise, volunteers, financial backing?  Is there a legacy if the event does come?

Conclusion:

There are sporting events and meetings that will work for all communities.  Start by looking at your strengths and then match these with the available opportunities.

Bob Murdock
Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau
860-882-1103
robertm@ctcsb.org

Making the Bid

June 15, 2015

basketball courtYou work hard as an event host to bring in events, tournaments and meetings that you think will be perfect for your space. Yes, you may wish you had mega-complexes with dozens of fields, courts and diamonds so you could attract just about any organization that might want to come your way.

That doesn’t mean you can’t bring in top-notch events to your area.

Those who have been around the business of sports know that relationships are the key to landing the right event for your area and for your facilities. With an increased number of upgraded venues battling it out for the same events, it’s more apparent than ever that how you work with what you have is the key to landing the contract.

We had an opportunity to talk with a sports corporation director during a site visit for a sports-related meeting. While that particular sports corporation did not have the newest facilities available for meeting space, what the corporation could offer was personal attention to making the bid work.

“I remember the night before one tournament here in town, I made a quick visit to the venue to check out the locker rooms,” she said. “They were a mess, with graffiti, chipped paint and dirty floors. I turned around, called my family, went to the home improvement store and we spent the night cleaning and painting the locker rooms. Not every host organization would do that, but I felt it was necessary to make the best impression.”

The impression worked, as that particular event returned two more times to that same facility. The moral of the story is, a little personal attention goes a long way.

“There have been days that I’ve shuttled participants and coaches back and forth to hotels and the airport,” she said. “Whatever has to be done, we figure out a way to do it. I can’t always offer new courts or rinks but what I can offer is the best service that any sports corporation can give.”

In a tight bid market with all other things being equal, personal service can make the difference in whether you’re successful. In this case, it was: The sports corporation got the sports meeting it was bidding for.

So as you get ready to make a bid to bring in a new event, remember this: We all WANT to offer new, bigger, brighter facilities: We all CAN offer personal service.