Archive for the ‘youth and amateur sports’ Category

Is Your Organization Covered—for Anything?

March 21, 2016

The idea of crisis plans for your team, event or venue is to try to think of anything and everything that can happen, and make sure you have a correct response to every scenario you can come up with. auction-gavel-2

But too often, no one takes into consideration 1) demanding parents and 2) litigation at the drop of a gavel.

When his 16-year-old son didn’t get the most valuable player award, Michel Croteau didn’t get mad, he tried to get even. He hired a lawyer and sued his son’s youth hockey league to the tune of more than $200,000. Croteau claimed his son Steve should have been the MVP since he had the most goals and assists in the league. When he didn’t win, daddy claimed that Steve was so embarrassed, he wanted to quit hockey.

This isn’t an isolated case. In the year the Croteau lawsuit was filed, 2013, parents filed more than 200 non-injury-related sports lawsuits against coaches, leagues and school districts in the United States, according to Gil Fried, a University of New Haven professor specializing in sports law.

But wait, there’s more.

The Butzke family sued the Comsewogue, N.Y., school district because their eighth-grade daughter was taken off the varsity high school soccer team.

The Branco family took legal action against the Washington Township, N.J., school district after their son, David, was cut from the junior varsity basketball team.

The Rubin family sued California’s New Haven Unified School District for $1.5 million because their son got kicked off the varsity basketball team.

Marc Martinez sued his son’s baseball coach, John Emme, twice, and both times the suit was thrown out. It all surrounded the fact that Emme removed J.D. Martinez from the varsity roster, and dad claimed Emme did it for spite since Martinez the elder had complained to the school district that Emme was having his son throw too much. Coach Emme then countersued Martinez, a move Emme’s lawyer said was as much about Martinez as it was to send a message to parents around the country.

Most everyone has insurance to cover injury, weather, and other fairly predictable problems. Litigation is a growing issue, though, for many sports organizations, especially youth sports. Make sure you have a plan (and an attorney) in place that can help you out, in case there’s a case brought against you.

A Lesson to Be Learned

March 14, 2016

A while back we told you about the fight at a girls’ high school basketball game in Indiana that resulted in the suspension of both teams from the rest of this season.

Pike High meeting

Photo Courtesy: Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star.

Now, as Paul Harvey might say, here is the rest of the story.

After both the Pike and Ben Davis girls’ basketball teams were suspended after the on-court brawl, most everyone thought that would be the end of the issue. But Anucha Browne saw it as an opportunity for a life lesson for everyone involved.

Browne is NCAA vice president for women’s basketball championships. And she comes in with a hoops pedigree: She starred at Northwestern and led the country in scoring in 1985 with a 30.5 points per game average. And she decided she needed to talk with these players.

“I thought it was important to be in their space and help them understand that those split-second decisions can change the rest of their lives,” she told the Indianapolis Star. “I took pride in owning the fact that those young people deserve another chance and to have a dialogue with somebody who has been where they are. I want to be impactful in their lives.”

Browne met with the Pike team last week—she’s scheduled to meet with Ben Davis next week. Neither high school appealed the suspensions, although Pike did ask the Indiana High School Athletic Association to reevaluate its process in ruling on fighting at games.

“These are just young people, and you have to invest in young people,” Browne continued. “We tell our kids to be sportsmen, but what does that mean? I think to have that dialogue and talk to them about the impact of their behavior and what they do is important. It says everything about them.”

As for the school, Pike Athletic Director Doug Schornick said the meeting with Browne was another step in the healing process. “I think the message coming from somebody of her background was perfect,” he said. “We’re going to get stronger. All our programs are going to get stronger.”

Kudos to Browne for reaching out to both teams after a devastating end to their seasons. Let’s hope the schools, and especially the players, learn and grow from it.

A Win Comes with a Price

February 29, 2016

 

Score

Photo courtesy of Troy Machir, Sporting News.

 

The coach of a California high school girls’ basketball team was suspended two games for a big win.

And we mean, big.

Arroyo Valley High School defeated Bloomington High School, 161-2 last month. And it’s not first time Arroyo Valley had won by large margins. The Hawks had scored more than 100 points twice before, but this 159-point win created enough backlash that the school felt it needed to act and suspended Coach Michael Anderson for the two games.

Not that benching the coach made much of a difference. In the first game without Coach Anderson, Arroyo Valley won, 80-19. The Hawks were coached by Anderson’s 19-year-old son.

For his part, Anderson said he talked with the Bloomington head coach before the game, explaining that this was the Hawks’ last game before league play and that his team was going to play hard. “I wanted to let him know there was no harm intended,” Anderson told the Orange County Register, “and that if he had any ideas or concerns just to let me know.”

Anderson benched his starters at halftime and told his players in the second half to run the shot clock down before trying to score, but it still ended up as a beyond-lopsided final score. And Bloomington’s head coach, Dale Chung, told the San Bernardino County Sun he wasn’t happy with the outcome. “People shouldn’t feel sorry for my team,” he said. “They should feel sorry for his team, which isn’t learning the game the right way.”

A few times a year, we read about this kind of a game—is it the coach’s fault for running up the score or is it the opposing team’s fault for not putting up more of a fight? In several high school sports, football and basketball included, many state associations allow a running clock if the score is lopsided—in California, a running clock isn’t allowed until the fourth quarter.

There’s a fine line between sportsmanship and letting players play. The reserves want to show their skills and often take the opportunity in ‘garbage time’ to do just that, at the expense of an undermanned opponent. The talent level is so inconsistent in youth sports, including high school girls’ basketball, that blowouts do happen. A two-game suspension probably won’t stop Arroyo Valley from winning by 100+ points again this season. The lesson for the players may be, how those games are won.

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
Bonny@Visitwinstonsalem.com
NASC Mentoring Committee

 

 

The Sad Side of Sports

February 22, 2016

A high school girls’ basketball game this past weekend between Pike and Ben Davis high schools, two Indianapolis-area schools, had to be called with five minutes left in the fourth quarter because of a fight that apparently involved both fans and players.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers

Photo courtesy of teamfenon.com

Video posted on social media showed both players and fans on the court, although officials are not saying right now what may have started the incident.

At the time of the scuffle at Ben Davis’ gym, Pike was leading the game by a wide margin. Officials from both schools are scheduled to meet with the Indiana High School Athletic Association later this week.

In a statement, Ben Davis’ administration said, “We are extremely disappointed that good sportsmanship was not shown by the players involved in (today’s) girls basketball game at Ben Davis High School We are working closely with administrators at Pike High School and the IHSAA to determine exactly which players were involved in this incident.”

The statement continues: “This behavior is not representative of our values, beliefs or how we coach our student athletes. It is not reflective of the Ben Davis pride of our students, alumni and community share. And it certainly does not reflect the rich tradition and success of our girls basketball team. The Ben Davis players involved will face consequences at school, and we will comply with any consequences we receive from the IHSAA.”

For its part, the Pike athletic department Twitter feed posted this message: “Today’s girls’ BB incident was unfortunate! We are working with BD & IHSAA to investigate today’s occurrence.”

Last season the IHSAA hit Griffith and Hammond high schools with sanctions after a fight at a boys game, suspending both teams for the year. Eventually both schools got a temporary restraining order so they could play in the post-season tournament, and Griffith make it to the 3A championship game.

This investigation probably will go on for weeks, with sanctions expected on both sides. But when young players, girls or boys, see the behavior that goes on at some professional games, is it any wonder that scuffles break out? It makes it even more imperative for youth coaches to have proper training to make sure that nothing like this happens at their events.

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

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

Mom Gets Back Into Sports through Mary Free Bed Program

January 25, 2016

Editor’s note: Leading up to the NASC Symposium this spring, the NASC is highlighting adaptive sports athletes. The proceeds raised for the 2016 NASC Sports Legacy Fund will go toward offsetting expenses for the Mary Free Bed and Adaptive Sports Wheelchair Tennis program, which provides equipment to individuals who are unable to afford their own. Each month we feature one of the adaptive athletes: This month we feature Suzanne Egeler.

Hi, I am Suzanne Egeler, a 44-year-old mother of four girls.  I have been involved with Mary Free Bed Wheelchair Sports for almost 14 years.

Suzanne photo

I got involved in the sports programs shortly after my third daughter was born.  I was really discouraged with my weight gain and asked my doctor at Mary Free Bed what he suggested I do to lose some weight; his immediate and enthusiastic answer was TENNIS!

I met with a recreational therapist and tried out a few different activities…swimming, wheelchair racing, basketball, handcycling, and (yes) tennis.

I purchased a handcycle, which enabled me to go on bike rides with my husband and children.  I’ve even done the 5/3 Riverbank 25k a couple of times. But tennis ended up being exactly what I needed to get motivated to exercise.  After one tennis practice, I was hooked.   Lots of cardio, great competition, and lasting friendships with other wheelchair-using athletes.

I was always involved in sports from a young age and had forgotten how much fun exercising could be, with a group of friends. I am so grateful to have Mary Free Bed Wheelchair Sports and all of the programs it provides.

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.