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Valentine’s Sports Events: Planners Use Novelty to Drive Participation

10 Feb, 2016

By: Mary Helen Sprecher
With the Holiday Falling on a Weekend, Time is Ripe for Marketing Tie-Ins

Flowers. Candy. Wrestling tickets.

Cue the music: “One of these things is not like the other…”

But with Valentine’s Day on a Sunday this year, savvy sports planners have created events that capitalize on the holiday. And in some cases, a creative mind is all it takes.

Heart-healthy activity, of course, is always a good tie-in. Plenty of hospitals, health systems, athletic clubs and more are hosting events. There is even a Valentine-themed WOD for CrossFit. But when you want to attract the people, sometimes, you need to get a big edgy.

Running a 5K wearing only underwear (in February, and usually over the Valentine’s Day weekend, or in other years, the weekend closest to it) is a possibility with the benefit theme race, Cupid’s Undie Run. (Planners who would rather avoid seeing people in their skivvies have set up a multitude of other races, both timed and untimed, either on Valentine’s Day or the day after. Active.com has created this list of road races held over the weekend.)

But for those in areas where hosting an outdoor sports event is dubious, to say the least, there are plenty of options for other events. In Egg Harbor Township, for example, there’s the Valentine Vengeance Wrestling Tournament. The Utah Racquetball Association is hosting its Valentine’s Day Massacre. Chicagoland Indoor Soccer presents the 4th Annual St Valentines Tournament located at the (seriously) Romeoville Athletic and Event Center.

Some destinations are actually upping the tourism ante of the Valentine’s weekend. Visit Oceanside offers a recreational bicycle tour that includes wine, chocolate, music and more.  The event actually caps  the inaugural Oceanside Valentine Week, 10 days of Valentine-themed activities meant to drive tourism into the area, including special hotel rates, restaurant deals, tours and the unveiling of one of the largest (26 feet high), heart-shaped balloons in the country. The ride itself also offers participants costume contests, swag (including jewelry) and clothing.

Valentine’s Day is a boon for the economy, notes the National Retail Federation. According to the NRF’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, the average person celebrating Valentine’s Day will spend $142.31 on candy, flowers, apparel and more, up from $133.91 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $18.9 billion, a survey high.

In all those spenders, nine in 10 say they are planning "something special" for their partner. More than one-third plan a special event such as movies or dinner.

Or, apparently, the chance to run a 5K in their underwear.

more than one-third (35.1%) will spend on plans for a special night out, including movies and restaurants, totaling $3.6 billion. - See more at: https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/cupid-shower-americans-jewelry-candy-this-valentines-day#sthash.fiHbdjU2.dpuf
more than one-third (35.1%) will spend on plans for a special night out, including movies and restaurants, totaling $3.6 billion. - See more at: https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/cupid-shower-americans-jewelry-candy-this-valentines-day#sthash.fiHbdjU2.dpuf
and more than one-third (35.1%) will spend on plans for a special night out, including movies and restaurants, totaling $3.6 billion. - See more at: https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/cupid-shower-americans-jewelry-candy-this-valentines-day#sthash.fiHbdjU2.dpuf
and more than one-third (35.1%) will spend on plans for a special night out, including movies and restaurants, totaling $3.6 billion. - See more at: https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/cupid-shower-americans-jewelry-candy-this-valentines-day#sthash.fiHbdjU2.dpuf
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