Archive for the ‘USOC’ Category

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.

 

Boston in 2024?

January 12, 2015

Last week, the U.S. Olympic Committee selected Boston as the city to represent the American bid for the 2024 Olympic Summer Games. Since there hasn’t been a Summer Games staged in the United States since Atlanta in 1996 and no Olympics since 2002 Salt Lake City, much is riding on this bid.Boston 2024

After the Chicago bid—and almost immediate rejection of that bid by the International Olympic Committee—the United States is looking to make this bid count. The Boston bid seems to be more of a cost-efficient proposal, rather than major spending on new venues as has been the norm in the last few bids.

The 2024 Olympics could include field hockey events at Harvard Stadium, archery at MIT and beach volleyball on the Boston Common, among other venues, taking advantage of the region’s many universities and public spaces.

In choosing Boston, the USOC bypassed Washington D.C. and two other cities, including

San Francisco and Los Angeles. L.A. is the host of the next US. Olympic Marathon Trials, and the awarding of that bid was seen as a move to bolster its Summer Olympics bid effort.

The Washington D.C. bid, which was led by local businessman Russ Ramsey and co-chaired by Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, included many of the area’s most prominent business and political leaders. It focused on constructing a new stadium on the site of RFK Stadium and an Olympic Village and tennis center along the Anacostia River that organizers hoped would help revitalize some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

The IOC will make its final decision on a host city in September 2017. Other candidates could include Rome, Paris, the German cities of Hamburg or Berlin, and Durban or Johannesburg from South Africa.

A Durban or Johannesburg bid could lead to the first Olympics in Africa. A Paris Olympics would have the advantage of commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1924 Games. Like Boston, Hamburg has never staged a Summer Games and Rome hasn’t hosted since 1960.

But unlike the failed Chicago bid, the U.S. bid seems to have a better chance of having its representative city be chosen for the Olympics. The USOC has worked hard to mend hard feelings and relationships between its group and the IOC, and sticky issues like money (isn’t it always about money?) and rights fees over broadcasts have been smoothed out.

Congratulations to Boston—now let’s figure out how traffic will be moving during the games on those narrow streets!

Here with just a few of our closest friends

August 3, 2012

As our Olympic Games journey comes to an end, we finally made it to where the games began – Olympic Park.  In order to access the Park, either a ticket for a venue within the area or a day-pass that had to be purchased months in advance is required.  At first, this made no sense to me as many sponsors have interactive exhibits here, and the Merchandise Mega Store takes up a good portion of the area.  Furthermore, it is a great place to people watch.  However, upon spending a few minutes here, I understand the method to what I assumed was madness.  I am guesstimating there will be upwards of 400,000 people here today. If they had opened the doors to everyone, it would be a security nightmare, nearly impossible to enjoy and just plain crazy.  It has been a great trip and I look forward to sharing the nearly 2,000 photos I have taken.

 

Beth Hecquet, CMP
Director of Meetings and Events
NASC

Volunteers a Plenty

July 30, 2012

Upon our arrival in the UK in the early morning hours, we had our first taste of the Olympic spirit within steps of departing the plane. Two volunteers dressed in their bright pink and purple shirts stood at the top of the jet bridge with a welcome sign. A few steps further down the path to baggage reclaim (as they call it at London’s Heathrow Airport) we encountered scores more of friendly and helpful volunteers. And this was only the beginning. On every street corner where Olympic spectators could wander, they will find at least two volunteers; at every tube, bus and train station, there are at least two volunteers as well (and many times upwards of six to eight). All are there to make getting in and around London and the Games as easy and stress free as possible. In the London 2012 official programme (spelling is correct, this is the UK) they make sure to state there are 70,000 volunteers organized by the LOCOG (London Organizing Committee Olympic Games) there to help. And help they have, as well as given spectators a welcome feeling to a city that can be very overwhelming.

Beth Hecquet, CMP
Director of Meetings and Events
NASC

NASC Member Cities Host 17 of 19 Olympic Trials

July 12, 2012

Recently we had occasion to take a look at the cities that hosted Olympic trials events in preparation for the London Games. As we did, we realized our members have played a huge role in helping to qualify and prepare our athletes.

Of the 19 Olympic sports that held trials for the 26 sports on this year’s program (7 sports select their teams without trials events), 17 were held in NASC member cities. Both of the exceptions are former members where a staff person left the organization prior to this year. This equals 89 percent of the sports holding trials.

Since some of those sports (aquatics, for example) have four sports, there were actually 31 different trials events for the 19 sports. Swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo held their events in four different cities.

NASC members hosted 29 of the 31 different disciplines within the sports, or 94 percent of all of the trials events held for the 19 sports on the program for the 2012 Olympic Games.

It could not be any clearer: NASC members play an absolutely essential role in these events.

We are very proud of each host city and look forward to seeing the athletes who qualified medal for the USA in London!

– Don

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