SportsEvents Magazine

DEC 2016

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

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Page 22 of 165 December 2016 21 instant credibility in the market for all sports. Special events that bring national talent draws also. And an event that also provides an entertainment value is looked upon positively, as well as nationally recognized branded events." Gulf Shores & Orange Beach's Gendler said these kinds of factors are some of the "many other items to consider." Her list for event evaluation included "media cov- erage, sponsor pass-through opportunities and whether the event balances or builds out your sports resume." SEASONALITY Gendler also said that seasonality is an important factor to consider. "Does it bring a sporting event to the destination during a shoulder season?" she asked. "If not, would it burden the destination's resources during a peak season?" Similarly, Visit Santa Rosa's Lennon suggested the importance of seasonality with her question: "Does it bring people in during our slower season?" CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS For some communities, the discernible value of a sports event has less to do with the immediate bottom line and more to do with the more indirect and subtle consid- erations of nurturing an inclusive culture, as Plano's Aberg said. "We also support events that contrib- ute to our city's overall culture or even pockets of popular culture because Pla- no has a varied ethnic population which has shown us they appreciate these events," Aberg said. "One-off sports like table tennis, squash and cricket are not usually great economic-impact producers but they often create signifi- cant media interest from a comparative- ly small investment in public relations efforts. Consequently, the ROI goes be- yond economic impact by helping small but important cultural and social groups feel welcome and appreciated. Corpora- tions such as Toyota, Chase, Frito-Lay and JCPenney need these folks to feel at home here and our highly regarded school district definitely benefits from their presence." ENHANCED EVALUATION Our respondents noted myriad ways they have adopted techniques for a fuller evaluation of a sports event's economic impact. Gendler of the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach CVB said that its grant system takes into consideration factors other than room nights, such as seasonality, media coverage for the destination and sponsor- ship opportunities when determining if an event fits into its destination. Visit Plano's Aberg said their staff use event-intercept surveys every few years to calculate average daily spending, then apply common sense and a conservative attitude to measure day-trippers or over- night attendees and the resulting econom- ic impact. Panama City Beach's Sanders refer- enced an organizational structure change that made a different evaluation model more agreeable. "Eight years ago, we combined sports with special events to form one depart- ment to represent both," Sanders said. "Since that time, our fall season collec- tions have risen over 65 percent, getting us closer to a 12-month destination instead of seasonal at times. By creating a sports/special events model, we can highlight one or the other to increase visitation and at times combine the two for a large, full-destination event such as our annual Pirates of the High Seas Fest we combine with a large pirate-themed soccer tournament." Snohomish County's Dunn summed up how her DMO looks at evaluating the economic impact of a sports event overall. "We look at information that includes room nights, direct spending, and the number of participants and spectators," Dunn said. "A combination of these measurements may provide a 10,000-foot overview of the value of the sporting event. The number of participants and spectators can be a measurement, as the ability to increase the number of par- ticipants competing in a sporting event increases the room nights and the direct spending by the group as a whole." RE-EDUCATION Even if CVB and Sports Commission professionals understand the limitations of the room-nights calculation as an ac- curate measure of economic impact, they are still dependent upon city officials and others who are, for one reason or another, considerably inclined toward a narrow view of that model of funding. What can DMOs do to shift the focus away from room nights and re-educate pertinent parties about alternatives? The Snohomish County Sports Commission has incorporated several communication strategies for shifting the focus away from just room nights and even away from just city officials. "We present our annual report to city officials, hoteliers, county officials, the ► SPECIAL FEATURE: CVBs & Sports Commissions Something To Be Said For Simplicity? Sophisticated calculations that attempt to put a value on almost every conceiv- able return on investment may produce a more accurate evaluation but Cissy Aberg, sports sales manager for Visit Plano, injects a word of caution. "We are aware of and consult the NASC and DMAI models, but we try to be brief and to the point when called upon to justify our numbers. As industry partners, we understand the method in these multi-layered models but the complexity can be confusing. We find people appreciate a simple model using only primary sources of economic impact as opposed to deriva- tive impact options and we can be con- fident of not overstating our value. For example, to suggest that referees and officials are spending money at stores and restaurants all day while working a tournament is a stretch, in my opinion. While they may buy a tank of gas and some clean socks, most of those people are brown-bag-lunch carriers and stay in comped hotel rooms." n

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