There are lots of reasons to visit Oklahoma City: Its up and coming NBA team, the horse shows and its world-class museums. But one of the best reasons to visit OKC in March is the 22nd annual NASC Sports Event Symposium, where the leaders in the sports industry gather each year to share ideas and make connections.
Another exciting and productive week is on tap at the 22nd annual NASC Sports Event Symposium, March 31-April 3, 2014 in Oklahoma City. Whether you’re an event owner, host organization or vendor, it’s a chance to gain industry knowledge and solutions, along with the opportunity to generate new business leads during the Sports Marketplace.
“Oklahoma City looks forward to hosting the 22nd annual NASC Sports Event Symposium” says Holly Shelton, CSEE, CTA, manager of sports business development for the Oklahoma City CVB and co-chair of the 2014 Symposium Planning Committee. “We hold it as the most important sports event industry show we attend and are excited to have it in our own backyard in 2014. Every year we bring our president, sales staff and servicing manager because the networking and overall experience is hard to beat.”
Industry leaders say the annual NASC Symposium is the only place attendees have the opportunity to connect (or re-connect) with quality sports event professionals in one place, at one event, where the education is as important as the networking.
"In addition to outstanding education, Marketplace appointments, and the opportunity to visit firsthand some of the best sports cities in the country, the most valuable takeaway I receive from the NASC Symposium is connecting with colleagues in the sports industry,” says Janis Ross, executive director of Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports. “Having face-to-face connections at the NASC Symposium has provided me with key contacts. I know I can pick up the phone and receive valuable advice from someone I met through the conference.”
Ralph Morton, executive director of the Seattle Sports Commission, agrees. “The NASC Symposium is simply the best resource to learn from experts in the sports industry and exchange best practices with your peers. It is an essential must-attend conference for those serious about growing their organization and building relationships nationally.”
“We’ve attended the NASC Symposium for the last eight years for three reasons,” said Gina Mintzer, CMP, MHA, director of sales at the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “One: Education – to stay on top of our game by knowing, understanding and executing the trends in our sports events industry to the best of our ability. Two: Networking – with event owners and host organizations who know how to plan and produce the best events.Three: Business – to actually meet and ultimately work with individuals to successfully bring their sports events to our destination.”
And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a 20-year veteran of the sports industry, or just getting started, there’s something for everyone at the 22nd annual NASC Symposium, whether it’s the larger presentations or the more intimate breakout sessions.
“The NASC Sports Event Symposium is by far the best event for our industry to attend. What makes it so special is that it is organized and put together by a committee of our peers,” says Marissa K. Werner, sports and entertainment sales manager of Visit Milwaukee. “This is truly an educational conference that has helped me grow as a sales manager in the sports industry and in turn has allowed me to educate our partners on what the sports market means to the city of Milwaukee.”
“The NASC Symposium is very unique in that the content and schedule is designed in large part by the attendees which is why the networking and education opportunities are so outstanding,” adds Matt Meunier, national sports account executive at the Meet Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association. “Whether you are a seasoned attendee or a first-timer, the NASC has the tools you need to build your career and your pipeline.”
And speaking of first timers, they say they are able to take away a broader knowledge of the sports business after the annual NASC Symposium. “After attending my first NASC Symposium last year, I was excited to volunteer my time to be a part of planning this year’s event. The committee has worked hard to bring another great event to all its members and I’m proud to say that I am a part of it,” said Ashleigh Bachert from the Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission. “As many have said before, this is a great event to not only network and find out about business opportunities but it’s also a wonderful educational opportunity."
“I’m excited that there is more education for smaller markets to get involved with, as well as some sessions we haven’t been seeing at other conferences or in webinars,” Bachert continues. “Since this will be my second year with a sports commission, the education portion is the piece I’m always drawn to. Listening to experts in their field and what works in our own communities is the highlight. I look forward to another NASC Symposium where I get to bring back best practices and new ideas to my own community.”
Another highlight of the annual NASC Symposium is the Sports Legacy Fund raffle and silent auction. The Sports Legacy Fund, originally developed by the St. Petersburg/ Clearwater Sports Commission as an equipment donation program, is a way for members of the sports tourism community to make a personal and lasting impact on the lives of underprivileged youth sports programs throughout the country.
The 2014 beneficiary will be Oklahoma Cleats for Kids, which collects, recycles and distributes new and gently used athletic shoes and equipment to kids in need. In its first year of operation in 2012, Cleats for Kids delivered more than 2,000 pairs of shoes, clothing and equipment to Oklahoma kids in need.
“We are looking forward to our partnership with Oklahoma Cleats for Kids,” said Ed Hruska, CSEE, chair of the Sports Legacy Committee. “NASC always looks for an organization committed to reaching the community, and we feel Cleats for Kids does that for underprivileged youngsters throughout the state.”
“It is our honor to be chosen,” said Stacy McDaniel, president of Oklahoma Cleats for Kids. “Our vision for Cleats for Kids was to support every child’s right to develop a healthier lifestyle and build character by helping them get what they need to play and stay involved in sports. The Sports Legacy Fund partnership will help continue that mission.”
Visit NASCsymposium.com for the full schedule, educational offerings, travel and housing details, registration information and much more. The deadline to register is Friday, February 14, 2014.
And while you’re at it, save the date for the 23rd annual NASC Symposium April 27-30, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.