SportsEvents Magazine

DEC 2016

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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December 2016 22 www.sportseventsmagazine.com chamber of commerce and local business- es," Dunn said. "It includes information about the tourism industry as a whole in Snohomish County. We state where the visitors are spending dollars in five categories: restaurants, transportation and fuel, recreation and entertainment, retail stores, and accommodations and grocery stores. For our sports events, we report on visitors — out of area and local — room nights and economic impact. The number of sport events that a community hosts is valuable as this is an indicator that states the community is a premier sports destination. "Additionally, when talking to the community we talk about the big picture of sports tourism, not just room nights or direct spending. Sports tourism cre- ates jobs and generates revenue for the businesses to employ the residents of the community. Sports tourism is an oppor- tunity for local businesses to market their business to visitors." The variety in the parties receiving annual reports on tourism and sports events noted by Dunn is not unusual and is an important factor in spread- ing a broader-based perspective on the economic impact equation, as indicated also by professionals in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Panama City Beach and Santa Rosa. "Our sports commission has annual sponsors, including accommodations, attractions, restaurants, grocery stores and other retail outlets," said Gulf Shores & Orange Beach's Gendler. "Our annual sponsor makeup brings to light that it's not always about room nights. Our cities are extremely supportive and are wonderful partners — they understand seasonality needs and burdens as well as the impact of retail sales tax in addition to lodging taxes and desire to see a balance in the destination when it comes to sport- ing events." Panama City Beach's Sanders is happy with the variety in the makeup of the DMO Board of Directors. "We have been fortunate to have a good blend of board members who represent city and county officials, bed tax collectors, and restaurant and amusement owners and managers," Sanders said. "They see the impact that the events bring to them. Record sales and tax collections have become the norm. Where we were once considered a vacation and spring break 'hot spot,' sports is now in the DNA of the destina- tion, so much so that we are in the pro- cess of expanding our sports facilities in the $50 million range. Promoting these events together with our menu of special events and playing off of each other has been very beneficial to the destina- tion. They are seeing the importance of giving teams and/or visitors a reason to come to Panama City Beach or a reason to return to PCB." Santa Rosa's Lennon indicated a similar approach that includes "making it a broader view, by including economic impact, community impact, making the connection on how certain events can help everyone." FINAL THOUGHTS Even though there seems to be general agreement that room nights is not the only factor in determining a realis- tic assessment of the total economic impact of a major sports event, such complicated evaluations in such wildly diverse political, cultural, financial and geographical environments is, of course, bound to be imperfect. "I don't think there is one right assessment because every city and its sport facility inventory is different," Plano's Aberg said. "Housing selection is still a critical component in Plano where our city is surrounded on four sides by at least seven other suburbs. We can't expect visitors to know or care where those city limits begin and end, so we still think guiding visitors to Plano hotels is the most efficient way to benefit from their spending. And while event attendance alone is important, we feel pretty strongly that when attendees are staying in Plano hotels, they are much more likely to spend their money in Plano stores and restaurants than if they are staying in a hotel in the suburb next door." Panama City Beach's Sanders in- dicated that while all sorts of factors, including room nights, go into his city's determination of what will make for an event they want to attract to their beachside locale, the fun factor is al- ways a prominent consideration. "Our brand is Real.Fun.Beach," Sanders said, "with an emphasis on fun! Creating that atmosphere when visiting has proven very successful for us. We try to align with as many orga- nizations that are looking for the same outcome: a fun experience!" n SPECIAL FEATURE: CVBs & Sports Commissions '' "Our sports commission has annual sponsors, including accommodations, attractions, restaurants, grocery stores and other retail outlets. Our annual sponsor makeup brings to light that it's not always about room nights. Our cities are extremely supportive and are wonderful partners — they understand seasonality needs and burdens as well as the impact of retail sales tax in addition to lodging taxes and desire to see a balance in the destination when it comes to sporting events." —Beth Gendler, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission

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