Mary Helen Sprecher 2017-05-31 18:01:41
A Tale of Two Host Cities RECENTLY, Sports Destination Management has been privileged to attend two outstanding sports events as an observer. Those two events couldn’t be more different, but both had an undeniable impact on their host cities and they provide an excellent snapshot of what our industry is all about. In late April, contributing editor Michael Popke was in Philadelphia to attend probably the buzziest event of the spring: the NFL Draft. The three-day event, which drew upwards of 100,000 people, had an estimated economic impact of $80 million on the City of Brotherly Love. Oh, and the Draft brought in 35,000 hotel room nights, generated 26,000 construction, transportation and hospitality jobs – and had live television coverage. All in all, quite a production, with a tremendous build-up and quite a bit of residual coverage over the next few days. Shortly after that, I was in Naples, Florida, for the Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships. And while it naturally took place on a smaller scale, there was no doubt that it, too, was rocking the economy of Southwest Florida. The event, only in its second year, has grown into the largest pickleball tournament in the world; in fact, Naples and Collier County have the title of Pickleball Capitol of the World. In 2016, the event sold out with more than 800 competitors. This year, it was two days longer, and sold out again, hosting 1,200-plus athletes from 14 countries and 42 states. In 2016, it generated a staggering (and entirely unexpected) $1.5 million for the local economy. This year, it was on track to break that record. Two events, each totally different, but each illustrating the way sports impacts a local economy, drives tourism and raises awareness. I’m pleased say this issue of the magazine covers many of those topics, including economic impact, senior athletes – even pickleball. At the same time, we’re taking a close look at the cities hosting baseball, fishing and track & field. Need some advice on career development, or a who’swho list in sports event planning? We have that too. As we cast off into the season of warm-weather sports, let’s remember how much we have in common. Our events might be big or small, playing out on courts, on roads, in fields, in pools or in the riding ring – yet they’re all a part of the dynamic whole that is sports tourism. Let’s celebrate that. 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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