Posts Tagged ‘sports business’

Winning Isn’t Everything..

January 18, 2016

We know that coaches want their teams to win. We also know that parents want to give their student-athlete the best chance to develop his or her skills to be the best players they can be.

Attucks basketball

Photo Courtesy of Indianapolis Star

So it’s interesting to see the cautionary tale being played out this school year at Indianapolis’ Crispus Attucks High School, where the head basketball coach has been reassigned and parents are outraged.

A bit of background: Crispus Attucks is the home of basketball legend Oscar Robertson and, despite falling on recent hard basketball times, has battled back to become relevant again in the sport that Indiana worships. A lot of that has been because of head coach Phil Washington, who was named city coach of the year last season in Indianapolis for leading Attucks to a 19-6 record and the Class 2A regional final. He also brought Attucks its first sectional titles, in 2014 and 2015, since 1973.

It’s obvious Washington wants to win. So it’s not surprising that winning would bring tighter scrutiny from the Indiana High School Athletic Association, which ruled in November, then upheld the ruling last month, that two transfer students playing for Washington were ineligible because the IHSAA said they transferred to Attucks for athletic reasons—which is a no-no.

Here’s the back story: Washington is from Anderson, Indiana, another basketball hotbed. Washington interviewed for the Anderson head coaching job this past spring, but wasn’t a finalist. The mother of one of the transferred players was a big supporter of Washington to get the Anderson job, but when he didn’t, that’s when the two players moved from Anderson to Indianapolis. Mom says that wasn’t why they moved..the IHSAA says differently.

While the players’ case will go before a Department of Education review panel, Washington remains suspended while his Attucks’ team is 9-2 and eighth in the state. Parents have delivered petitions to Attucks’ administrators, claiming his punishment is excessive. In the meantime, Washington has been transferred to another high school as a teacher only, and two student-athletes have their basketball careers hanging in the balance as the grownups try to decide what’s best for them.

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

The Future of Football

December 8, 2015

Before the Christmas release of the film, “Concussion,” the researcher whose work is the basis for the movie, Bennet Omalu, wrote a New York Times op-ed piece that appeared Monday, in which he says that children under age 18 should not be allowed to play full-contact football.

AFI FEST 2015 Presented By Audi Centerpiece Gala Premiere Of Columbia Pictures' "Concussion" - Arrivals

HOLLYWOOD, CA – NOVEMBER 10: Bennet Omalu attends the Centerpiece Gala Premiere of Columbia Pictures’ “Concussion” during AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi at the TCL Chinese Theatre on November 10, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Omalu likens the dangers of football to other known dangers like smoking, asbestos and alcohol, His argument is, we learned of the dangers of each, and now have education and, in some cases, laws in place to protect people from their misuse. We know about the dangers of football, he argues, and it is now time to protect young people from the head trauma that we’ve seen in older players.

Omalu is the first person to link repeated concussions and head trauma to CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative condition blamed in part for the deaths of a number of high profile NFL players, including Junior Seau and Mike Webster.

In the article, Omalu makes the point “that repetitive blows to the head in high-impact contact sports like football, ice hockey, mixed-martial arts and boxing place athletes at high risk of permanent brain damage. …Why, then, do we continue to intentionally expose our children to this risk?”

In the short term, Omalu’s proposal would change youth football to a non-contact, touch or flag football game. In the long term, though, eliminating youth football as it is played at higher levels would effectively kill the college and professional game in the United States. If youngsters don’t grow up playing the game at it exists now, there’s a slim to none chance they will pick it up when they are “of age.”

In the wake of the New York Times piece, former college and NFL quarterback Danny Kanell tweeted that “the war on football is real.” For youth football organizers, it’s time to look realistically at the dangers and work hard to make the game safer.

 

NASC Upcoming Webinars – Register Now

November 18, 2015

Mark your calendars now! We have a great line-up of both Best Practices Webinars and Event Webinars that you won’t want to miss. Check out the schedule below, and reserve your spot today!



Tips for Building Community Relationships
Best Practices Webinar
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

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. Join Bonny Bernat of Visit Winston-Salem as she shares best practices used in hosting events in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. If you are unable to join us on the 24th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).



USA Triathlon

Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Thursday, December 17, 2015
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

Join Brian D’Amico, National Events Senior Manager, USA Triathlon, as he discusses USA Triathlon and what it takes to land their events. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 17th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).



Webinar Archives

If you’ve missed any of our recent webinars, or would like to view them again, visit our Best Practices Webinar Archives or our Event Webinar Archives.

Contact the Member Services Department if you have any questions.

A Show of Sportsmanship

November 2, 2015

This past Halloween, Zach Hougland was supposed to be running for an individual title in the Iowa high school cross country state meet.

He had earned the right to make the trip to Fort Dodge, having come in first at the district championship for Iowa’s Class 2A runners, his fourth trip to state.

Instead, Zach was disqualified for helping a fellow competitor finish the qualifying meet.

The Davis County of Bloomfield senior finished first, but then looked back at the course and saw Garret Hinson, a Mediapolis senior, struggling to cross the finish line, about 150 meters away.

Hinson was trying to finish but his legs and back gave out, so he ended up crawling on all fours to try to make the finish. Zach ran back onto the course, helped Hinson to his feet and guided him to the finish. Both runners, though, were disqualified. The action violated state rules regarding physical assistance of one runner by another.

The help was ruled interference by a runner. The disqualification was made by meet officials and an investigation by the Iowa High School Athletic Association upheld the ruling.

The bright spot in this is that Davis County’s cross country team as a whole placed third and qualified for state, so that gave Zach a chance to run with the team. Davis County came in 14th in the state in the meet Halloween weekend, and Zach was the team’s fastest runner.

The other bright spot was the outpouring of support that Zach received for his unselfish act of sportsmanship. Too many youth sports stories highlight the ugly incidents that can happen in the name of sports. It may have been a disqualification, but for all the right reasons.

Photo courtesy of Joanna McCoy

Photo courtesy of Joanna McCoy

More from your venue

October 26, 2015

It sounds like the old Larry Bird-Magic Johnson McDonald’s commercial..off the backstop, through the dugout, off the steps..but at Petco Park, it’ll be the way you play miniature golf—and it’s a unique sponsorship activation at the same time.

Over the first weekend in November, the San Diego Padres and Callaway Golf will create a nine-hole layout around the downtown ball park. The Links at Petco Park, to be held November 5-8, will begin on a putting green in the home dugout. Golfers will move to the ballpark’s upper deck for Nos. 2-5, where they will hit shots onto the field from various locations. The sixth will tee off on the field near the Western Metal Supply Co. building in the left field corner before golfers move to the batter’s eye in center field for No. 7. The eighth hole will be a putting green in the bullpen. The final hole will be on the roof of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building.

Prices are $100 for twosomes and $200 for foursomes. Callaway will provide clubs and balls. Upgraded packages include specially branded Callaway clubs and tickets to a future Padres game. No surprise, tee times are all gone, but you can still sign up for a wait list.

“We’re always trying to provide authentic golf experiences with our products that are unique and engaging, and that’s exactly what this partnership with the Padres is about,” Callaway senior vice president of marketing Harry Arnett told the Padres’ website. “Playing a nine-hole course at a venue like Petco Park with Callaway golf clubs and balls will be a once-in-a-lifetime round, and we are excited to be a part of it.”

Each hole along the course will feature a unique theme and an opportunity to win prizes like a new Callaway Great Big Bertha Driver, with various holes offering corresponding snacks and beverages.

We’ve talked about using existing venues for new events. The Petco Park activation, the Fenway Park snow jumping event this winter, even stadium concerts, all offer new revenue streams for venues at a time when their stadium wouldn’t be used. And, it gives fans a unique look at a facility they thought they were familiar with. More and more facilities are taking a new look at how to bring in fans, and money, during what would otherwise be the off-season.

Petco Park links course

illustration is courtesy San Diego Padres

Youth Sports at a Crossroads

October 12, 2015

An article this past week in the Washington Post revealed something that many of us who work in the business of youth sports have known for some time: The number of kids who participate in organized sports is reaching a crisis level.

According to a survey by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, more than 26 million children ages 6 to 17 played team sports last year, but that’s down about four percent from the total in 2009. The total sports played have dropped by nearly 10 percent.

Some of the decline is blamed on the recession at the start of the decade, but experts say the dropoff in the suburbs is something to be concerned about, mainly because kids are being steered away from playing a variety of school sports and sent into elite competition. Children as a whole, according to the study, are playing fewer sports, and those who are left in school programs often are the victims of poor coaching.

With 70 percent of youngsters quitting sports by age 12, it’s easy to look at a reason why. And the reason, researchers say, often is the parents.

Mark Hyman, a professor of sports management at George Washington University, is quoted in the article as targeting parental influence as the main reason fewer kids are playing fewer sports. “If we wiped the slate clean and reinvented youth sports from scratch by putting the physical and emotional needs of kids first, how different would it look? Nothing would be recognizable.”

The Aspen Institute, the Clinton Foundation, and several amateur and professional sports organizations are studying the issue. Officials met at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, as well as earlier this year at a Washington summit attended by the U.S. surgeon general. Dick’s Sporting Goods asks for donations at the checkout counter for Sports Matter, a program to fund underfunded youth sports teams.  The NASC also picks a local charity or non-profit in the city of its annual sports symposium to boost youth sports activities.

Sports has become a way for parents to try to get college scholarships for their children, often starting them in one sports as a toddler and investing thousands of dollars in travel teams, equipment and individual coaching. Even though the odds of a scholarship, much less a pro career, are small, parents will take the gamble hoping for the next Tiger Woods or Mia Hamm.

The article also quotes a survey a professor at George Washington conducted on nearly 150 children. The kids identified 81 factors that contributed to their happiness in playing sports. Number 48 was winning. Also low on the list, playing in tournaments, cool uniforms, top of the line equipment.

The number 1 reason why kids quit? It’s no longer fun.

It’s up to the grownups to figure out how to make sports fun again for our youngsters, to keep them in activities that they can take with them well into adulthood, and, most importantly, to let them rediscover the fun in sports. Athletics can teach amazing life lessons to kids. Let’s make sure they learn the right ones.

Photo courtesy of the Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation

Photo courtesy of the Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation

Getting the most of the venues you have

September 29, 2015

Fenway Park in Boston has been the home for football, for concerts, for hockey, and now, this winter, it will be the home for big-air snowboarding. “Big Air at Fenway” will bring in top winter extreme athletes to compete on a 140-foot snow ramp inside the park. With the winter Boston had last season, having enough snow or cold shouldn’t be a problem. If it is, organizers say they’ll just truck in enough snow for the athletes.

“I think it’s more that we see Fenway as a community gathering place, and doing high-profile, blue-chip events outside of baseball season a couple times a year is an appealing thing for the community,” according to Red Sox and Fenway Sports Management President Sam Kennedy. “A lot of them are a return to a past. Soccer had happened way back in the early part of the century, and the Patriots even played at Fenway and Boston College played at Fenway way back, so I think we’ve been inspired by Fenway’s history and actually bringing these events back in terms of a return to the past.”

More and more venues are getting more and more use out of their facilities by opening them up to new ideas and new sports. Yes, sometimes it’s a pure gimmick, as with the U.S. Synchronized Swim Team performing routines in what was called the largest swim tank in Times Square history last week, but it’s another way to expose what may be a niche sport to more people. You can bet Fenway will be sold out for the Big Air event.

(Boston, MA, 09/22/15) Fenway Sports Management (FSM) and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) during a press conference announce a big air ski and snowboard competition that will take place at Fenway Park in February.  A drawing of the massive snow ramp within the park on Tuesday,  September  22, 2015.  Staff photo by Matt Stone

Drawing courtesy of Fenway Sports Management

NASC Upcoming Best Practices and Event Webinars – Register Now

September 29, 2015

We have a great line-up of both Best Practices Webinars and Event Webinars that you won’t want to miss. Check out the schedule below and reserve your spot today!


Sugar Bert Boxing Promotions
Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Monday, October 5, 2015
2:00pm – 3:00pm ET

Register Now

Join Bert Wells, CEO, Sugar Bert Boxing Promotions and his team as they discuss Sugar Bert Boxing Promotions and what it takes to land their events. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 5th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).


USA Archery
Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Monday, October 19, 2015
2:00pm – 3:00pm ET

Register Now

Join Sheri Rhodes, National Events Manager, USA Archery, as she discusses USA Archery and what it takes to land their events. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 19th, remember you can download the webinar recording from ourwebinar archives page (login required).


Prospecting for Events
Best Practices Webinar
Thursday, October 22, 2015
2:00pm – 3:00pm ET

Register Now

Join Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director, NASC, as he discusses best practices for prospecting events. Don will share his top methods for sourcing events, as well as prospecting opportunities and strategies. If you are unable to join us on the 22nd, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).


Webinar Archives

If you’ve missed any of our recent webinars, or would like to view them again, visit our Best Practices Webinar Archives or our Event Webinar Archives.

NASC Upcoming Webinars – Register Now

September 16, 2015

We have a great line-up of both Best Practices Webinars and Event Webinars that you won’t want to miss. Check out the schedule below and reserve your spot today!


A to Z Guide to Organizing a Sports Event
Best Practices Webinar
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
2:30pm – 3:30pm ET

Register Now

Join us on Wednesday, September 23rd @ 2:30pm ET as Bill Hanson, CSEE, Author of the A to Z Guide to Organizing a Sports Event, and Jeff Gayduk, Publisher, Premier Travel Media, discuss their top recommendations for organizing a sporting event. Bill will share information on the best way to get started, how to take your event to the next level and what tools are needed to conduct a successful, sustainable event. Jeff will discuss why it is so important for a sports organization to utilize the A to Z Guide when organizing a sports event. If you are unable to join us on the 23rd, you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).


Sugar Bert Boxing Promotions
Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Monday, October 5, 2015
2:00pm – 3:00pm ET

Register Now

Join Bert Wells, CEO, Sugar Bert Boxing Promotions and his team as they discuss Sugar Bert Boxing Promotions and what it takes to land their events. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 5th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).


USA Archery
Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Monday, October 19, 2015
2:00pm – 3:00pm ET

Register Now

Join Sheri Rhodes, National Events Manager, USA Archery, as she discusses USA Archery and what it takes to land their events. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 19th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).


Prospecting for Events
Best Practices Webinar
Thursday, October 22, 2015
2:00pm – 3:00pm ET

Register Now

Join Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director, NASC, as he discusses best practices for prospecting events. Don will share his top methods for sourcing events, as well as prospecting opportunities and strategies. If you are unable to join us on the 22nd, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).


Webinar Archives

If you’ve missed any of our recent webinars, or would like to view them again, visit our Best Practices Webinar Archives or our Event Webinar Archives.

Keeping Spectators Safe

September 2, 2015

Anyone in the events business knows that one big concern is keeping spectators safe. Often the emphasis is at the point of entry: Checking bags and ‘wanding’ spectators is now the norm at professional sporting events, and is happening more and more at the amateur level.

But now, safety issues are shifting to venues themselves. The issue has turned tragic this past week, with the death of a spectator at Turner Field, who fell over the railing of an upper deck. It’s the third fatal fall at Turner Field since 2008. Earlier this month, Justin Verlander and other Detroit Tigers called for baseball to extend netting to protect fans after a fan was struck in the seats at Comerica Park, and that comes after a spectator was seriously hurt at a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway.

We know that attending a sporting event carries its own level of risk, as is spelled out on the backs of most of our event tickets. But railing height has been almost as much of an issue as extending the nets down the base lines to protect fans. Atlanta Braves’ officials say the new Braves stadium is designed to have higher railings, even though the present railings meet safety standards. The International Building Code mandates that venues like Turner Field and the Rangers’ ballpark, where, four years ago, a fan reached over the outfield wall to retrieve a tossed baseball and fell 20 feet to his death, have rail heights of 33 inches, increasing to 42 inches at the base of aisles. Those guidelines still have not prevented fan-falling incidents at those parks as well as the Georgia Dome and St. Louis’ Busch Stadium in recent years.

And here are some sobering stats: There are 53,000 foul balls that enter the seats every year, according to Edwin Comber, creator of foulballz.com. And 1,750 spectators are injured every season by batted balls at major league games, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg News.

It will be costly for stadiums to upgrade their facilities, and they’re reluctant to obstruct lines of sight because they don’t want to encourage fans to stay at home where they can get an even clearer, closer view of the game from their HD television. But if it continues to become a major safety issue, something will need to be done, and soon. Don’t wait for someone else to die.

Photo courtesy pa baseball netting.

Photo courtesy pa baseball netting.