JULI ANNE PATTY is a freelance writer based in Portland, Maine and is also contributing editor to Sports Destination Management magazine. Before becoming a writer, she spent several years teaching middle and high school English. She still believes passionately in the power of public education, spending many of her out-ofwork hours tutoring at nonprofit organizations to help students develop their creative and expository writing skills. Juli is currently completing her first novel while continuing her work as a marketing and public relations copywriter. Visit her at www.juliannepatty.com. JOHN ANTHONY founded Anthony Travel in 1989, combining the two things he enjoys most: sports and travel. Anthony Travel services the unique travel needs of universities, including Notre Dame, North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, and many others. Since its formation, Anthony Travel has provided sports housing services with host organizations and events including ESPN and the U.S. Soccer Federation. John is a 1986 graduate of Notre Dame, where he twice earned Academic All-American honors in golf. Sportsdestinations.com 23 [SITE SELECTION > GOLF] 22 sports DESTINATION MANAGEMENT • November/December 2009 Tiger Woods. Vijay Singh. Michelle Wie. Joe Average. Guess who you’re planning a golf tournament for? Most planners who are selecting a venue for a golf event won’t need to take into consideration items like accommodations for international media, on-site athletic trainers or hordes of gung-ho enthusiasts who will watch every shot with breathless anticipation. (And perhaps that’s just as well.) But you do have something in common with the planners of those lofty championships: You need your event to go well, and you want your participants to be satisfied with the experience. So how do you create a perfect event for your group? Answer:You start with the right course. With golf riding a wave of popularity (including acceptance as an Olympic sport), there is no lack of places to play. But which course is right for your group? On Course for Success (CONTINUED ON PAGE 24) whole thing should make a positive impression, and so should the people working there.” In particular, adds Bollig, pay attention to how the visit makes you, as a meeting planner, feel. “I think there are several signs that fall along the customer service category,” says Bollig. “Are you greeted in a friendly and warm manner? Does the course want your business, or are you seen as an irritation? Is the course willing to address any unique needs that you might have such as accommodating handicapped golfers, first-time golfers, those that might just want to ride in a cart, etc.? Does the golf course administer special awards such as longest drive, longest putt, etc.?” And don’t forget, he says, to look for And how do you make sure it’s a wellbuilt, well-managed facility? Jeff Bollig, managing director of marketing and communications for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, says that first impressions are everything. “Look for a course that is well-maintained,” says Bollig. “You want every part of it to look good, including the club house, the pro shop, all the facilities. The By Mary Helen Sprecher professionalism in all their business dealings as well. “Does the course offer a written contract to ensure that both parties are protected? Essentially, you want to be welcomed and be provided the services you need to conduct a first class event.” Planners are advised to look not just at the course itself, but at areas like the practice green and the driving range. Remember that attention to golfers’ needs shouldn’t just extend to experienced foursomes; novice players and those looking to improve their game need decent facilities. Another hint? Check the flow of guests for overly long lines in places like the pro shop or anywhere golfers will have to go to pick up rental clubs and so forth.Your players won’t be happy if they have to stand around waiting for service. Types of Courses Choosing a course means understanding the various types of facilities golfers use. Courses are classified three ways: by ownership, by length and by setting. The ownership of a course determines who can play there. Courses may fall into any of the following categories, or they may combine aspects of two or more categories. Those courses a meeting planner will probably encounter are: Private - only members of the club, organization or community can play, although a member may bring guests. Semi-private - a facility that is only open to the public on certain days or at certain times. Public - owned by a private organization or a civic organization; open to anyone who pays greens fees. The Meadows at Mystic Lake, located in Prior Lake, Minnesota, is an 18-hole daily fee Garrett Gill and Paul Miller designed course. The course is owned and operated by the Mdewakanton Sioux Community. Photo courtesy of Duininck Golf, Prinsburg, MN CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGEMENT FEATURE [SPORTS FACILITIES > BOWLING] Eeach year more than 66 million people in the United States bowl. That’s one in five people who bowl at least once a year, making bowling one of America’s most popular sports. It’s no wonder then that America also offers a nearly limitless variety of fine bowling facilities, ideally suited to pretty much any bowling event you can imagine. And if you’re looking for something really out of the ordinary, just ask the United States Bowling Congress. They’ll show you how to build your own. (CONTINUED ON PAGE 54) AMAZING ALLEYS: Facilities Across America 52 sports DESTINATION MANAGEMENT • November/December 2009 sportsdestinations.com 53 By Juli Anne Patty Photo courtesy of Station Casinos MARY HELEN SPRECHER has been a technical writer for 20 years with the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), the national association of designers, builders and suppliers of materials for athletic facilities. Sprecher has written on various topics relating to sports facility design, construction and supply, as well as sports medicine and health issues. She is a full-time newspaper reporter in Baltimore, Maryland. The ASBA is located in Ellicott City, Maryland – please visit www.sportsbuilders.org. A native of upstate New York, MOLLY HEDRICK moved to Charlotte in 1987 and joined the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority in October of 2000 as senior director of Communications. “I might have what many consider one of the best jobs in the city. Whether it is helping to bring the NASCAR Hall of Fame to reality here, or be involved in one of the most exciting times of our destination’s history, my experiences are very rewarding,” replied Ms. Hedrick. Molly has the opportunity every day to further increase awareness of the incredibly rich assets of Charlotte and its region. Of Carolina Arrangements, a Destination Management Company in Charlotte, North Carolina. Amy has been in the sports field for over 20 years, starting as a sportswriter in upstate New York and eventually working in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets and Charlotte Bobcats. Amy also spent time in racing with Speedway Motorsports Inc. at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Amy has coordinated all facets of marketing, travel and special events within the sports market with a multitude of corporate partners to include Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch & Gatorade. JOAN LAROSA is the director of Sales for the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and Sports Commission and has been in the hospitality business for over 20 years. Most of Ms. LaRosa’s career has been in hotel sales; she is a graduate of Niagara University with a degree in Hospitality Management. Along with Jennifer Rothman, sports sales manager at the LICVB, she helps bring sporting events to Long Island, New York. Sportsdestinations.com 45 A volunteer committee (of 30 community leaders) works together to oversee every aspect of the event, including the MarchMadness Experience.With 110,000 contiguous square feet of interactive games, the March Madness Experience tests the skill level of basketball fans of all ages. While the kids enjoy the activities, guests can still catch all the action from inside the arena at the broadcast booth, catch a bite, or watch possible future high school stars play on center court. The volunteer committee, which includes the Peoria Area CVB, also coordinates support systems including hotels and businesses, as well as medical, fire, parks and police departments. “When an event comes to Peoria, they can be assured of an impressive amount of excitement in the community, which translates into everything from a groundswell of volunteers to hotel rates that are far more reasonable than St. Louis [DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT > PEORIA, ILLINOIS] or Chicago,” says Chad. “We highly value every event that comes to town and the opportunity to show visitors the very best.” That very best includes a metropolitan and natural environment made even more remarkable with Midwest hospitality.With a vibrant riverfront that includes one-of-akind pubs, restaurants, galleries and shops coupled with scenic views, paddlewheel cruises and a sculpture walk, you’ll never run out of ways to play. Wineries, shopping, casino, botanical gardens, museums, theatre and much more are all minutes from downtown. The Peoria Area CVB represents an eight-county region and traveling a short distance on the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway to a variety of communities and festivals is an experience you won’t want to miss. From Princeton to Havana, you’ll find a plethora of unique attractions, eateries and shops worth exploring.With so much to do, your event participants, coaches, family and friends will truly enjoy the Peoria area. For golf enthusiasts, Peoria is a ‘dream come true’ with over 300 holes and 20 miles of fairway. “We are eager to host golf events,” notes Chad. “Our location in the center of Illinois makes us highly accessible, and we have an abundance of exceptional courses.” Most importantly, sports facilities are world class and within easy driving, and in some cases, walking distance from lodging. “You can be just about anywhere in the Peoria area within 10 minutes by car,” notes Chad. “And in some cases, fly directly into Peoria, or connect through numerous flights to Chicago. The Peoria International Airport, which is a quick eight minute drive to downtown Peoria, is completing a $65 million expansion/improvement.” Facility highlights include: The Peoria Civic Center -Walking distance from hundreds of area hotels rooms, this multipurpose convention center and sports complex is home court of the Bradley Braves and home rink of the Peoria Rivermen, a St. Louis Blues®NHLaffiliate. The multipurpose complex has a glass arcade that connects the 12,000-seat arena, a 2,200-seat theater, 110,000 square feet of continuous exhibit space, a 27,000 square-foot ballroom and additional break out rooms totaling 17,000 square feet. EastSide Centre – With a 53,000 square-foot recreational and health club, plus 14 lighted softball, baseball, and soccer fields, and a stadium with track, East- Side Centre has it all. Five Points Washington – this multipurpose facility offers a fitness center, an aquatics center, two-court gym, banquet and meeting rooms, and even a performing- arts center. O’Brien Field – located in downtown Peoria and home to Cubs® minor league affiliate, Peoria Chiefs, it features private dining and is within walking distance of the Peoria Civic Center and minutes from several downtown hotels. Owens Recreation Center – open year-round, it features two full-size indoor ice rinks. The moment you confirm your event with the Peoria Area Convention andVisitors Bureau, they’ll begin identifying the perfect venue, setting up lodging, writing press releases and organizing media relations, publicizing your event on their website, recruiting volunteers, and even securing sponsorships and celebrities. At least once a week, they’ll be in contact to check details, review progress, and ensure every one of your needs is being met. “We have great working relationships with hotels and venues throughout our eight-county area,” notes Chad, “so we can negotiate very competitive rates.We are an extremely sports-friendly city.” Karen Nash, director of Sales at Peoria’s Holiday Inn City Center explains why. “It’s critical for us – our hotel and our community – to be attentive to guests’ needs and provide outstanding service, especially since Chicago and St. Louis are so close by.We go all out starting with the basics, plenty of staff throughout the entire event. We communicate with all outlets of our hotel so that each department is ready for the influx of guests. Working with our CVB and the Sports group, we utilize their schedules so we can staff to coordinate perfectly with events. Larger ‘check ins’ typically have a wait, so the Holiday Inn City Centre provides a complimentary welcome refreshment table to make the wait just a little smoother for them. If there’s an early game, we make sure the restaurant is fully staffed to get participants in and out quickly. “Our goal is exceptional service and we will do what it takes to ensure each and every guest has an absolutely great stay, thoroughly enjoy themselves and realize, that Peoria is, without a doubt, the best place to play!” SDM 44 sports DESTINATION MANAGEMENT • November/December 2009 Consider the experience of Mark Lingle, director of the World Sports Stacking Association. His organization hosts more than 200 events in 22 countries worldwide. The numbers continue to grow for this lively, unusual individual and team sport where competitors stack specialized plastic cups in a specific sequence as quickly as possible. To make such a huge number of events run smoothly, Mark knew he had to begin partnering with conventions and visitors bureaus, but he didn’t know where to begin. That all changed when he had the good fortune of meeting Chad Mentzer, Sports Sales manager for the Peoria Convention and Visitors Bureau, at the U.S. Sports Congress conference. “The conference was overwhelming, but Chad took me under his wing and helped me work with convention and visitors bureaus, develop Requests for Proposals, handle bidding processes, and understand the relationships between bureaus and rights holders,” confides Mark. Soon thereafter, the Peoria Area Convention andVisitors Bureau was charged with hosting the Illinois State Sports Stacking Championships. Peoria took responsibility for every aspect of the event including: • Registration • Finding judges – A bureau employee took the time to learn the sports-stack- For the Very Best Event, Peoria is Your Place to Play! By Andrea Johnson It’s just a couple hours away from St. Louis and Chicago and less than four hours from Indianapolis, but when it comes to ensuring that your event runs ultra-smoothly, Peoria, Illinois is a world apart. Ing judging software and trained everyone else on it • Venues, hospitality and lodging • Public relations and marketing. “Peoria was like my guinea pig to see how well we could work with bureaus,” says Mark. “They passed with flying colors. They handled the details of running the tournament so perfectly that all I had to do was fly in on Friday night, do some judges’ training, officiate on Saturday and fly out.” It’s no wonder that Illinois High School Athletic Association (IHSA) has kept its state basketball tournament in Peoria for the past 14 years, and has signed a contract to bring it back another five. “There’s an incredible spirit of cooperation in Peoria,” says Marty Hickman, executive director of the IHSA. “They have a tremendous volunteer base and a can-do attitude when it comes to accommodating our fans, our teams and our members.” (www.nassm.com) provides a listing of schools that offer Sport Management Programs. One of the leaders in Sports Management is the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, offering bachelors, masters and doctoral programs. Professor Glenn M. Wong at Umass Amherst has been a pioneer in the sports industry for three decades and touted as one of the 100 Most Influential Sport Educators inAmerica. “We are one of the leading (sports) institutions because of both the academic reputation and the graduates in the field,” saidWong. His book, The Comprehensive Guide to Careers in Sports, provides valuable information based on Wong’s extensive career within the sports industry as attorney, dean, athletic director and arbitrator for professional and amateur sports. “It’s a very competitive market. In this field a degree is not required, but I’m finding in the marketplace that there is a tremendous amount of competition and a sports management degree is an asset for that person applying for that job,” Wong continued. Katie Brock, interim director of MBA Admissions with Auburn University agrees, “We are in a globalized world now that we weren’t in 20 years ago,” she said. “We are competing not only with Americans for jobs but 34 sports DESTINATION MANAGEMENT • November/December 2009 sportsdestinations.com 35 It might be considered a new trend in higher education. More colleges and universities are branching out their business programs to include sports marketing, sports law and sports event planning in their curriculum. Hitting the Books By Amy Henderson We’ve heard time and again – when it comes to your career choice, do what you love and you’ll be successful. The majority of us love sports, but chances are good that we are not going to make a living by becoming the next Le- Bron James or Peyton Manning. More likely, our love of sports will put us in the front office rather than on the field. That’s not to say that there aren’t opportunities within the sports industry. Take sales, marketing or promotions. Each one offers a great career without earning a Heisman Trophy. And pursuing higher education only enhances your rise to the top. It’s Not Just Underwater Basketweaving We’ve all taken “the easy class” to boost our GPA, but courses offered within sports management are no cake walk. There are currently 265 schools of higher education in the United States that offer Bachelor of Science degrees in specific sports programs; 139 of those offer Master programs and 24 offer Doctoral programs. The Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) was jointly established by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) in July 2008. Their website (CONTINUED ON PAGE 36) [SERVICE SOLUTIONS > EDUCATION-DEGREE PROGRAMS] ANDREA JOHNSON is the principal of Ideas to Words, a Minneapolis-based marketing communications company. She helps people and organizations capture the spirit of what they do and communicate it in a way that enhances credibility, draws attention and drives results. You’ll see her work in many regional and national business publications including Contact, SalesForceXP, Twin Cities Business and Velocity. For more information about Andrea, go to www.ideastowords.com. JENNIFER ALTEN is a Chicago-based writer, marketing consultant and photographer who specializes in working with the businessto- business, technology, manufacturing and medical sectors. She has written articles, white papers, websites and marketing materials for dozens of commercial and notfor- profit organizations ranging in size from Fortune 100 companies to start-ups.
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