SportsEvents Magazine

JUN 2018

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

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June 2018 20 for a particular event, many times media members appreciate a quick text or email reminder," she said. Use Social Media To Your Advantage Many sports commissions and CVBs are active on social media yet willing to experiment with new techniques. The available platforms allow for various groups – journalists, business leaders and locals in the community – to be reached easily. Christian Schroeder, director of conven- tion sales and services for Visit Winston-Sa- lem, said social media is key for its ability to not only provide information but also to connect with media. "Establishing a hashtag for the event, which incorporates our destination and/or making sure our destination hashtags are provided to media, is a great way to follow conversations and engage with journalists," he said. More than that, social media offers the opportunity for experimentation with promotional techniques without signifi- cant financial investment. Dorrough, in coastal Alabama, is interested in exploring Facebook Live and video content devel- opment to establish herself as a greater asset to the media. Snohomish County's Dunn is looking to follow the lead of sports commissions turning to LinkedIn as a way to reach the business community, as well as others involved in sports. Expand Your Network Thanks to newer tools such as social media and effec- tive standbys such as word of mouth, it's possible to promote events to audiences beyond what the media can reach. Dunn often speaks at Chamber and Rotary luncheons as a way to connect with businesses and business leaders about events the area is hosting. "Being able to talk to people when they are listening to you and able to ask questions is one of the most effective promotion strategies," she said. "It gives the personal touch." For Houston's Burke, leveraging per- sonal relationships is an asset to getting coverage. "We also have a full-time person on our team that worked for Fox Sports for 21 years and her job is to jump on talk radio to talk with the guys she's known for years about whatever events we have coming up or work with our professional sports leagues to maximize marketing opportuni- ties," she said. Get Creative Increasing awareness of events for the benefit of media coverage can call for a little creativity. Miami County's Stewart said the CVB creates smaller events that lead up to a main one that "generate excitement and create additional exposure." For example, a whiskey and donuts fund- raiser event was held at a local distillery for its partner, Be the Match: The National Marrow Donor Program. A competition among area donut shops was held during the Troy Strawberry Festival (which draws more than 200,000 people annually) to select the special glazed donut for the Tour de Donut bicycle challenge on Aug. 25. "These pre-events created opportunities for us to generate excitement and promote our main event to large captive audiences," Stewart said. In Winston-Salem, Schroeder said the CVB works with various event organizers to create and produce promotional signage – pole banners, overpass banners and floor and/or window clings – throughout the city to reach the community and welcome visitors and athletes. The Results There is no singular method for getting great event publicity, according to sports commissions and CVBs, but once you get it, it can pay dividends for years to come. In Snohomish County, Dunn said people are still talking about the 2017 USA Curling Nationals after a local newspaper reporter with The Daily Herald in Everett, Wash., prominently covered every aspect of the sport during the 10-day event. The 2017 Bassmaster Classic hosted held in Houston received print and television coverage due to the unique setup of the event – it was held in an MLB stadium for the first time in history – and it had a compelling local angle. A "Get Hooked on Fishing" program, sponsored by Shell, brought in 850 kids from 17 inner-city elementary schools to the event to learn how to fish from the pros. "Each child went home with a fishing pole and map of where they might be able to fish near their home," Burke said. "All of this was possible because we had a major spon- sor cover costs and it was heavily reported locally." Though the challenges to getting event publicity may seem greater than ever, it's not impossible. "We're competing against more news," said Dunn. "But you can over- come that by having a compelling story." n t GAME Plan 5 4 3 Television interviews prior to the Houston Sports Awards. Harris County - Houston Sports Authority

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