Get In The Game

Indicators and research show stable growth and longevity in the sports event industry, an industry that has been resilient at a time when other markets are showing signs of decline. – National Association of Sports Commissions

So when the motorcoaches aren’t coming by as much, its harder to get your message to the leisure traveler through all the clutter, and the local banquet hall just isn’t attracting the conferences, where to turn? Sports Marketing. And once again NASC’s Symposium provided the perfect messages at the perfect time! Sessions on Partnerships, Economic Impact, Risk Management, and Sponsorships; plus the ‘trendy’ Green and Social Media.

And how about that line-up of speakers? Mr. March Madness Analyst Clark Kellogg, Indians GM Mark Shapiro and Olympic Medalist Paul Wylie. If you’re looking to “get in the game” – the sports marketing game, NASC’s Symposium is a ‘must attend’. But it’s not as simple as hanging a For Use sign on the local softball diamond. There are basic but serious considerations before ‘lacing them up’ – May’s Five @ 5:

1. Fields or facilities – “Got a field. Check!” Nope! Truly how available is the complex to outside uses? Most school facilities are for the students and most public facilities are for the residents. Period. Ask the school district or parks and recs about the fields’ availability before shopping them. You’ll appreciate it less you truly attract someone and then have to say ‘I guess it’s not available this summer.’

2. Transportation Infrastructure – Can teams get to the fields or even your community? Reasonably? How easily can they fly in if you are able to attract a national event? Is there an interstate system close to your community/facility that will make it easy to drive in? And is there ample parking? If there’s an open ditch county road leading to the facility do you expect participants to park along the road? May work for the beer and church leagues but not AAU!

3. Relationships – Gonna bid on a tiddly winks event… who is the first person you call? The local tiddly winks guy or gal! You sell the community – the hotels, the restaurants, the attractions during down time. The local tiddly winks guy or gal sells the venue that the tourney will be held in, the knowledge of the sport and the local tiddly winks nation that will rally and volunteer!

4. Volunteer Base – Probably the worst thing is attracting an event and not having the volunteer base to staff the event. Your staff can’t do it! You’re selling the community for the next event! Have the volunteer base in place before you bid on the event!

5. Hotels – Here’s an interesting question to ask your hotels – Do you want youth sports? Believe it or not, most may answer ‘no’! Those rowdy teen boys tear up the place and cost the property more in repairs than they make on the room nights. As we fight for every room night and validation of what we do, the worst thing is to attract an event only to have the hotels not offer any room blocks and all the room nights go to the neighboring community.

I’ve spoken on the subject of sports marketing and have more on the site including a copy of the PowerPoint presented. Find it under Resources.

(Originally posted May 2010)

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