Mary Helen Sprecher 2016-05-22 01:13:17
Addressing All Athletes As sports business professionAls, we spend a lot of our time on youth events: planning them, studying them, discussing the statistics. And we should; after all, this is the generation we’re worried will succumb to inactivity and all its attendant problems. But when was the last time we thought about one of the most rapidly growing groups: adult athletes? Children, as well as high school and college students, have multiple opportunities for sports. But it’s the post-college athletes, and in many cases, the Baby Boomers, who are participating in a wide array of events, and spending a lot of money on them. Whether it’s playing in tennis tournaments, going on bicycle tours, running marathons or anything else, these are the people who are buying equipment, paying registration fees and traveling to events. This is a generation that deserves our attention. Over time, we’ve seen the rise of a number of events designed to host adult competition. The USA Masters Games will take place this summer in Greensboro, North Carolina. America’s Masters Games come to Vancouver, British Columbia, about a month later. In 2017, the National Senior Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, but throughout this year, qualifying events will be held across the U.S. Notice a common thread here? There are a lot of adult athletes, and those people represent a sizeable market share. We need to pay attention to them, and to make sure they’re served. It would be a mistake, were the NGBs of sports to turn their attention only to children or high-performance athletes when so much of the market is driven by adult participation. Let’s encourage everyone to focus on all athletes, rather than just one segment of the market. In this issue, we have a number of articles that address the full spectrum of athletes who participate in our events. Our Clipboard article covers considerations for senior athletes. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s a great article on career development and the ways professional sports organizations are turning their operations into live classrooms for up-and-coming sports executives. And since it’s not enough just to recruit participants for events, we have insights on managing the athlete relationship to keep them coming back. Triathlons, baseball, equestrian, fishing and track & field are all covered in this issue, as is the Mid-Atlantic and the cities there that stand ready to host your events. And don’t miss our special feature on Who’s Who in Leadership in our industry. This just might be your most valuable go-to guide the next time you need to find the right people to help your event reach its best potential. As we head into another season of summer sports, let’s take a moment to honor all athletes – and all those who help make their events happen. Mary Helen Sprecher MARY HELEN SPRECHER, managing editor of Sports Destination Management, has been a technical writer for almost 30 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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