David Ziegler, national sales manager at Cincinnati USA, is looking to use his past experience as the Cincinnati Reds’ director of ticketing initiatives to sell the city to one of the region’s untapped markets. Namely, he is focusing on adding LGBT sporting events to further promote the city’s diversity and add sports tourism dollars along the way. He’s been busy going from trade show to trade show to make his case. Here, he discusses the effort.
Why did you join Cincy USA?
I worked for the Cincinnati Reds for 17 years and wanted to continue to sell the city. I had been the de facto liaison for the Reds with the CVB [Cincinnati USA]. In late 2014 I was looking to make a change, and they were looking to fill a slot in cultural and fine arts, as well as social welfare areas. They also wanted to launch an LGBT initiative, which was what really made me want to come aboard. I insisted that if we’re going to do [it], [they couldn’t] expect it to happen in eight months or a year. It doesn’t work that way. You have to earn it. You have to be authentic.
Any differences between the sports industry and the CVB side?
I am all about best practices. I want to know what other people are doing in other markets. When I was with the Reds, I’d call my counterpart at the St. Louis Cardinals. On the field, we’re rivals; off the field, we weren’t competitive. The guy from the Mets would call and ask questions. In [the CVB] industry, people don’t share as much.
What cities are doing LGBT initiatives right?
Everyone pointed to Greater Fort Lauderdale [Florida] CVB and Richard Gray. He’s the godfather of that market segment in terms of bringing LGBT conventions and meetings to the city. I tracked him down and he was very generous with information. St. Louis; Richmond, Virginia; Columbus; and Louisville, Kentucky, are doing some cool stuff too.