SportsEvents Magazine

DEC 2016

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

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Page 25 of 165

December 2016 24 TIER 3 Closed, exclusionary youth serving groups: In many cases, if these groups have paid staff, the group is given a lower priority. TIER 4 Adult programs TIER 5 Access for groups or individuals that are not residents of the location. RELATIONSHIP BUILDING Second, build relationships with facilities. Relationships may offer an advantage to your sports organization when planning an event. "AYSO has many memorandums of un- derstanding in place with stakeholders that give it a higher priority," Hoyer said. The length of the terms vary and memorandums are usually founded on contributions made for construction of a facility, including turfing, lights, snack shacks or maintenance and operations. Hoyer said AYSO is "usually the biggest youth program in a geographical area with a long track record of performance of payment (when required), maintenance and upkeep via our volunteer base, and being a community supporter of many other youth groups by its committed volunteer base." Another tip: Look for facilities that are tourism-driven. It's just not feasible for them to book a field for a weekend when the organization has no plans to use it. "For us to sit empty, it doesn't make sense. We want to be full of activity," said Evan Sanders, events and marketing coordi- nator for the Round Rock Sports Center in Central Texas. "Any municipality is going to want people in their city, in their facility." The Round Rock facility houses 12 volleyball courts and six basketball courts, along with three NCAA basketball courts, multi-purpose rooms, a players' lounge, shower facilities and athletic training space. So far, since its opening in January 2014, the facility has not had bookings for organi- zations that let it sit empty. "It has not happened here," Sanders said. "If someone did that to us, we wouldn't book them again. We want to see them drive tourism … spend money in the com- munity. It's an easy conversation for us to have with them, that our facility was built to promote tourism." Sanders has heard of block outs happen- ing in other places in an effort by groups to cut down on competition. "So they don't want a group to book a facility in the area for the same weekend as their event," he said. As evidence of the center's mission to promote tourism, hotel occupancy in Round Rock has increased by 13 percent since the center's opening. "We stay fairly busy," Sanders said, adding that 50 to 60 weekend events were held in 2016. "Generally, every weekend there's something going on." Tourist locations have a lot at stake and are wary of the block-out practice. "Because we are a prime location, we do not reserve fields or rent facilities unless the event for certain is going to take place," said Ally Mills Dorrough, public relations coordinator for Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism. "The best way for park and recreation departments and sports commis- sions to combat this is to require non-re- fundable deposits for facilities." n SPECIAL FEATURE: CVBs & Sports Commissions American Youth Soccer Organization Large sports associations such as the American Youth Soccer Organization build relationships with facilities to se- cure a high priority for booking dates.

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