Recognizing the Best in Our Industry We’ve all seen plenty of articles, blog posts and more trying to help us figure out how to market to the various demographics: Baby Boomers, Millennials, Gen Z, you name it. And depending on which article you’re reading at the moment, that particular generation is the one and only group to pursue if you’re looking for the best return on investment. In our world, where travel, business and planning all intersect with sports, we know there’s no one generation that holds the magic wand when it comes to economic impact. Success in any particular event really depends on the sport, the location and the timing – and of course, on the hard work of the event planner. But there’s one thing everyone can agree on: the well-run event is the one that is going to send people home happy and bring people back year after year. In this issue, we celebrate some of the best events that have taken place in our industry as we present the winners of our second annual Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism awards program. What’s especially interesting about these events is the fact that they represent a cross-section of sports as well as a wide variety of athletes. You won’t find just one demographic or one generation showcased here; in fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find two events with an identical population of athletes and spectators. They’re all part of the tapestry that makes up our industry, and it’s a fabric that grows stronger and more complex with each passing year. Judging this year’s award winners was no easy process. There were a great many entries, and all of them had interesting stories attached. Some involved multiple event partners while others were largely independent. Some events were new and some had long histories. They varied in size, complexity and age group served but they all had the common denominator of contributing to their host communities. I encourage you to read through this year’s winners and to appreciate the diversity and scope of all of them. And if you didn’t enter this year, keep these awards in mind as you go through the year ahead. Every event has the potential to contribute to the community, the sport and even to the athletes who participate, and it’s that combination that we honor in this issue. Congratulations to all our winners. We are proud to recognize you. 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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