5. Identities matter. Destinations are pinpointing and developing sports identities to maximize their core sports, says Vince Trinidad, executive director of Tulsa Sports Commission. “Developing a sports identity is an ongoing process that can take years of reinforcing and developing the targeted sports that communities can not only host, but continually and consistently host well,” says Trinidad, who helped forge a deal to make Tulsa the new headquarters of USA BMX.
6. Bring on the fest. As sports commissions and CVBs create their own sporting events, they are tacking on festivals as well. Hoyt says local events and celebrations provide an avenue for cities to show their competitive identity to the rest of the nation.
7. Going beyond the sale. CVBs are learning event owners require servicing after the bid process, says Don Schumacher, the outgoing executive director ofNational Association of Sports Commissions. “Some communities are so anxious to get the room nights, they promise things and can’t deliver,” Schumacher says. “They later realize people aren’t pleased, and usually it relates to the lack of servicing.”
8. The new venue race. “DMOs and sports commissions are putting bed-tax dollars into bricks and mortar,” says Jon Schmieder, founder and CEO of Huddle Up Group. “This is a relatively new phenomenon, but it doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.” He cites places like Rockford, Illinois; Warren County, Ohio; Monroe, Louisiana; Evansville, Indiana; Placer Valley, California; and Pasco County, Florida, as examples where new venues have been built or existing ones enhanced “to stay competitive in the sports tourism arms race.” Says Schmieder, “Is this a trend of success, or one of destruction? It’s too early to tell.”
Schumacher is certainly concerned. “Communities that aren’t even active in sports tourism have added new facilities so they can participate in the industry, and that’s backward,” Schumacher says. He says the secret to building a successful new facility requires fulfilling unmet local needs.