Sports Development Manager, Snohomish County Sports Commission
In basketball, you don’t wait for the ball to slowly roll across the court to you; you go after it. For Tammy Dunn, who grew up in Montana in the 1970s playing hoops recreationally, the same is true in winning sports business for Snohomish County, Washington.
Since Dunn helped the county’s Sports Commission expand its sports marketing program three years ago, the economic impact has soared from $13 million to $24 million for the area. The commission’s annual sporting events went from 14 per year to more than 50 slated for 2015. When she first came to the CVB in 2005, Dunn started from scratch building relationships she knew would pay off in the long run.
Take the Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships, which Snohomish County first hosted in 2012 and is committed to returning in 2016. Dunn’s success has translated to nontraditional sports as well, like the United States Tennis Association’s Pacific Northwest Tennis Section Championships for Mixed 40 and Mixed 55 and Over, which is coming to the county for the first time next year. Breaking into new areas doesn’t stop at bringing new business to her region.
“The doors have opened up more in the last five years for women than when I started 10 years ago. Because I’m a sports fanatic and I can speak the language, that helped me to overcome some of the challenges of being outnumbered by men,” she says.
Dunn recognizes women are still the minority, but believes “we’ve charged forward and are leading the way for the younger generation of women and hopefully eliminating some of the barriers for them.”
Role models: “Mary Lee Malmberg, the sports tourism director with Cedar Rapids CVB, was the first person I met in the industry, and she helped me along the way,” says Dunn. She also credits Janis Ross, vice president of convention and sports marketing for the Eugene, Cascades & Coast CVB. “She’s another one who, if I have questions, has been helpful and willing to support.”
TMMTattSales philosophy: “Sports tourism is different from group sales. You are attached at the hip to the rights holder until that event is over. Helping them with hotels, activities and attractions and bringing in community involvement is all part of what we do to help the organizer be successful.”