Have you baited your mousetrap lately? YOU NEVER DO KNOWwhat you're going to find on an NGB's website. I was searching for some information on a specific sport the other day, and I stumbled across a note on the website, stating the NGB was looking for a host for their 2013 USA Team trials. Downloads were available, listing the specifications, dates, contacts and more. Now if this isn't a great opportunity for a city, I don't know what is. Especially with the Olympics fresh in everyone's mind. Really: hosting a USA team trial. That's a very big, very fancy feather in any city's cap. We're talking about sport and mainstream media coverage, nationally ranked athletes, you name it. What's not to like? And the best part was this: what those athletes were looking for was not something esoteric or hard to come by. What they were looking for was some really great indoor facilities with the right dimensions and furnishings, HVAC, support personnel and amenities. There wasn't even a bid fee. What amazed me was that the only place I'd seen this notice was on the website of the governing body. I hadn't seen it in industry magazines. I hadn't popped up on social media nor in any publication I'd been reading for the sports event industry - and let's face it, I read a lot of those. No, unfortunately, there wasn't even an announcement of this location search on the NGB's home page. It was buried under "News" for the NGB, where nobody would probably have seen it, if they weren't already a member of the sport. So here's my question: If someone wanted, really wanted, cities to know about this, and bid on it, why didn't they reach out to organizations like NASC, where sports commissions, CVBs and others were just waiting? Maybe that particular NGB just wasn't aware of the great resources available to them. Which, come to think of it, is understandable, given the circumstances. An NGB, particularly in an Olympic year, has a lot to do. And maybe prospecting for a location for an event more than a year down the road wasn't a big priority at the time. But that in no way made it less important, or less noteworthy. The axiom may be "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door," but it doesn't hold true in the sports travel industry. So here's my charge to you: market the heck out of your mousetrap. Check out the websites of NGBs, event owners and others. See who's looking. Advertise your facilities in the trade magazines, get quoted in articles, and make yourself known. After all, you never do know who is looking for a place to host their next big party. Sincerely, Mary Helen Sprecher Managing Editor MARY HELEN SPRECHER has been a technical writer for more than 20 years with the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), the national association of designers, builders and suppliers of materials for athletic facilities. She has worked in meeting and convention planning for non-profit associations, and previously was a staff writer for a Baltimore, Maryland newspaper. She is a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management, a professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and has taught meeting planning and event management courses in the continuing studies program at Goucher College, located in Towson, Maryland.Her freelance writing includes coverage of topics in the areas of fitness, health, sports medicine and special education.
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