4 Orgs for Sports Tourism and Event Professionals

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By Megan Herrity

Every industry has professional organizations or associations to join right? It’s a great way to get involved with the community, learn and network. There are a multitude of these out there for event professionals, but what about sports tourism? John and I spent time researching and thought we’d share what we found to make it even easier for the next person!

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I feel we must start with the only association in our specific niche of events, the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC). It was founded in 1992 by 15 sports commissions. Their membership is made up of event owners, vendors, DMOs and obviously sports commissions. NASC is a non-profit organization. Their goal is to educate their members on how to run better events. They offer certifications, webinars, Market Segment Meetings and a yearly Sports Event Symposium, to name a few things. Attendance is usually around 1,000.

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We were interested in learning more about the NASC Symposium, to find out if it was worth attending for us. It is held each spring and in 2016 it is in Grand Rapids, MI. As expected, the agenda is full of educational seminars, networking opportunities and the Sports Marketplace. The Marketplace was presented to us as a trade show, mainly focused on connecting event owners and cities. However, cities can make 10 minute appointments with owners or vendors, as both can have booths.

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The next organization we came across was SportsTravel Magazine, which hosts the annual TEAMS (Travel, Events and Management in Sports) conference. This conference is held in Las Vegas every fall. The main difference between TEAMS and the NASC Symposium, is that TEAMS is first and foremost a trade show. They also offer some interesting seminars and of course, networking opportunities. The trade show is for event owners, so booths are hosted by vendors, DMOs, etc. The conference launched in 1998 and expects an annual attendance of around 1,400.

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SportsEvents Media Group hosts the annual S.P.O.R.T.S. The Relationship Conference. The conference is held in the fall and this year it was held in Shreveport, LA. 2014 was its first year and it was held in Annapolis, MD. Their mission is to provide an equal ratio of event owners and industry suppliers. S.P.O.R.T.S. is a mix of educational seminars, one-on-one appointments and again, of course, networking opportunities. There is no trade show aspect of this conference. Instead, you set up 15 minute, one-on-one appointments during the allotted times each day.

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SportsEvents Media Group offers directories on their website for sports commissions and CVBs, soccer fields and facilities, baseball/softball fields and facilities and sports focused hotels. The website also offers news from the industry and a blog. The SportsEvents Magazine can be found in print and digital editions.

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Lastly, is an event only, but we thought worth mentioning for its uniqueness. The Sports Event Marketing Experience is held in DC each spring and 2015 was its 12th year. It is a 2 day conference and specifically geared towards those looking to get in to this field or those just starting out. The aim is education and networking. SEME brings in a variety of speakers from NFLPA, CBS Sports and Greater Washington Sports Alliance, just to name a few. Attendance is around 2,500 annually.

There are some great organizations out there for sports tourism professionals, whether you own or organize an event, are a host city or are a vendor. It would be great to see you at one of the events in the future!