If the checklist for your next event includes a great venue, plenty of hotel options and beautiful weather ñ but does not include a strong partnership with a CVB or sports commission, it is time to rethink that list. In fact, that partnership should be key to your arrangements.
Over the next few pages, Sports Destination Management has compiled some of the best and brightest partners in the business. Theyíll help your event be the best it can be, whether it plays out on a field, a court, on the water, on the ice or anywhere else.
Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau
With a passion for sports and communities, Joel Lamp joined the Huntsville team in 2021, hitting the ground running with more than 20 years of experience in the sports and entertainment industry. Since arriving in the Rocket City, Lamp produced the first college football game ever at Toyota Field, secured multiple national championship level events and built momentum for Huntsville as a sports destination.
Huntsville’s rise as a sports destination mirrors the growth of the city. Huntsville was named the No. 1 city to live in the United States by U.S. News and World Report in 2022 and became the largest city in the state of Alabama.
Prior to his arrival in Huntsville, Lamp spent 16 years as a leader in the sports world in Jacksonville, bringing the national spotlight coming to Northeast Florida with the first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball championship to VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in 2006, 2010, 2015 and 2018, along with stints as the Senior Associate Athletics Director at Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida. He also was responsible for launching the Moe’s Classic, a two-day college and high school lacrosse event at TIAA Bank Field and bringing the USA Cycling Amateur Road Nationals to Clay County in 2021.
Tempe Tourism Office
Combining her passion for sports and travel, Luchie Javelosa launched her career in the tourism industry over five years ago at Visit Tucson, where she most recently served as the Director of Sports. In her current role, as the Senior Sports Sales Manager at the Tempe Tourism Office (TTO), she singlehandedly cultivates a network of athletes, meeting planners and industry pros who are enthusiastic about bringing every level of competition to the state-of-the-art facilities and venues Tempe is proud to offer.
Luchie graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in psychology. She continues to hone her industry prowess as a certified Sports Tourism Strategist through Sports ETA and a Sports Diversity Leader – Travel through Compete Sports Diversity. Additionally, she serves on numerous Sports ETA communities, including the Young Professionals Community, DEI Community and the State Association Leaders Group. As a result of her efforts, Luchie was recognized as the Young Professional of the Year at the Sports ETA Symposium in October 2021.
Like many of the athletes she brings to Tempe, Luchie enjoys being active, weightlifting and spending time outdoors. She also loves to travel and plans to complete the Tour du Mont Blanc within the next few years. For more information about Tempe, contact Luchie at email@example.com or 480-305-1365.
Visit Tucson Sports
Nick Pazzi is the Sports Sales Manager for Visit Tucson Sports and represents multiple sports facilities in Tucson and Southern Arizona. Nick has over 25 years of experience in the tourism industry, including 20 years in hotel and resort sales and five years with Visit Tucson.
“Having grown up in Tucson and needing to see what more was out there after finishing school, I packed up and took a job at a resort hotel in Telluride Colorado so that I could ski every day in the winter and mountain bike in the summer,” he says. “My journey in the ski industry eventually took me to the towns of Jackson Hole Wyoming and Sun Valley Idaho, where I continued my career in the hotel industry as Sales Manager. I returned to Tucson to be closer to family and continued working at several local golf and spa resorts. I am currently serving on the Arizona Bowl Committee as well as the Conquerors Paragolf Committee. My certifications include CTA (Certified Travel Associate) and SDL (Sports Diversity Leader) with Compete Sports Diversity Council. I enjoy snow skiing, golf and mountain biking, and my favorite events include the NCAA Basketball Tournament, Arizona Bowl and NCAA College World Series.”
Visit Tucson Sports is a one-stop shop for events needs in Tucson and Southern Arizona. With nine months of incredible weather, the community offers can’t-go-wrong opportunities.
California: Fresno County
Fresno/Clovis Convention & Visitors Bureau
With more than 16 years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, Andrew Smith, Director of Sales for the Fresno/Clovis Convention & Visitors Bureau, has a deep understanding of the needs and expectations of sports event planners and the benefits sporting events bring to his community.
Through Andrew’s leadership, the Fresno/Clovis CVB was able to retain sporting events during a global pandemic and bring new groups to the area including the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Championships, California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Championships and California State Taekwondo Championships. Andrew has forged partnerships with local businesses and community organizations to ensure first-rate service for all groups that travel to Fresno County.
Fresno County is a premier sports destination with more than 300 days of sunshine a year and state-of-the-art facilities to host softball, swimming, track and field, cross country, combat sports and more. For more information on venues, and hosting events at top-tier sports facilities, e-mail Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit Springfield, Illinois
Terry joined Visit Springfield, Illinois in February 2012 in convention and sports sales. Terry has been extremely fortunate to have fostered great relationships with Springfield community partners including Capital Area Sports Commission, Springfield Park District, Springfield Hotel & Lodging and numerous local sports organizations.
Through these relationships, many events have been made possible. During his time at the bureau, he has assisted in bringing the NCAA to host regional golf championships, USTA Tumbling and Trampoline Nationals, AAU Gymnastics Age Group Nationals, USA Gymnastics GFA Nationals and USA Figure Skating Adult Sectionals, to name just a few events.
Prior to coming to Visit Springfield, Illinois, Terry spent nearly 20 years in the Springfield hotel market holding positions including Reservations Manager and General Manager. He was the vice president of the Springfield Hotel & Lodging Association from 2007 to 2008.
Terry grew up in the suburbs of Washington D.C. and moved to Springfield after graduating high school in 1989. He enjoys spending time with his son, Will, and is an avid sports fan. LET’S GO CAPS!
Indiana: Hamilton County
Hamilton County Sports Authority
With more than 20 years of experience in the sports tourism, event management and meeting sales industry, Laura Kelner, Director of Sales for the Hamilton County Sports Authority (HCSA), showcases high-profile sports facilities and venues, including Grand Park Sports Campus, in Hamilton County, Indiana.
Located just north of Indianapolis, the HCSA represents venues for a variety of sports including baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, golf, diving, road sports, hockey and more. The HCSA continues to look for events and opportunities that balance out the destination’s seasonal calendar. With a strong, robust outdoor youth sports market that packs the calendar in late spring through early fall, there are opportunities for late fall, winter and mid-week events.
Hamilton County’s connectivity, affordability and Midwestern hospitality set it apart from other destinations. As one of the fastest growing communities in the country, Hamilton County continues to make sport a priority in each of the communities with well-maintained facilities, and after competition athletes and spectators can enjoy safe, vibrant and entertaining downtowns, restaurants and attractions.
Laura is member of Team Indiana and Women in Sports & Events (WISE).
To learn more about opportunities in Hamilton County, Indiana, contact Laura Kelner at email@example.com.
Indiana: South Shore (Northwest Indiana)
South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority (SSCVA)
Megan joined the SSCVA team as the Manager of Sports Development in 2021. She was promoted to Chief Sports & Leisure Officer in 2022. As the Chief Sports & Leisure Officer, Megan has consistently found innovative solutions to grow sports tourism in Northwest Indiana. Throughout her time at the SSCVA, she has had the privilege of working with many different events including the NCAA Division II Midwest Region Crossover Volleyball Tournament, the National Softball Association Northern B & C World Series and Leon’s Triathlon.
The South Shore of Lake Michigan, home to the Indiana Dunes National Park, is situated just 30 minutes from downtown Chicago. “Our state-of-the-art sports facilities and unique attractions draw youth, amateur, collegiate and professional sporting events from around the nation,” says Goodan. “Northwest Indiana excels in hosting tournaments of all sizes!” Megan enjoys working with sports and event owners to create unique, one-of-a-kind experiences for athletes, families and fans. A Valparaiso, Indiana native, Megan graduated from Indiana State University with a B.S. in Recreation and Sport Management with minors in Business Administration and Marketing. Her passion for sports and giving back to her community goes beyond the workplace as she is also a girls’ varsity basketball coach. In her spare time, she enjoys watching and playing sports and traveling the country with her husband, Zach. For more information contact Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kansas: Overland Park
Visit Overland Park
Visit Overland Park, Overland Park’s official destination marketing organization, announced the launch of their anticipated sports tourism strategy with the hiring of industry veteran Eric Olson. Olson has significant sports tourism experience, having served most recently as principal for the sports tourism consultancy, the Huddle Up Group, as well as Director of Championships for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
In his new role as Vice President of Sports Tourism and Events, he will be responsible for leading the organization’s new sports tourism strategy, leveraging the community’s impressive array of sports facilities and driving increased overnight visitor spending and economic impact in Overland Park.
“I am thrilled to be able to return to Overland Park and leverage my deep understanding, knowledge and experience in the sports tourism industry for my hometown.” said Olson. “The opportunity to serve in a leadership position in the community that I call home is a privilege and honor. I look forward to working with the VisitOP team and Overland Park stakeholders to launch the official sports tourism strategy and pursue Overland Park’s significant potential for economic impact driven by sports.”
Maryland: Harford County
Matthew Scales is the Executive Director of Visit Harford, located in Harford County Maryland, a destination at the top of the Chesapeake Bay. In January 2022, Matthew joined Visit Harford to promote Harford County, Maryland as a premier sports tourism destination. Prior to Visit Harford, Matthew worked with the Maryland Office of Tourism.
A native of Harford County, Matthew has participated in youth sports growing up. Matthew received his Bachelor of Science degree at Towson University with a dual major of public relations and advertising. He then obtained his Master of Science degree at Towson University several years later in Communication Management.
Harford has hosted numerous sporting tournaments such as the Maryland Governor’s Taekwondo Championship, wresting, baseball and fishing tournaments, twirling competitions and more.
Harford County, Maryland, home to the Baltimore Orioles’ Cal Ripken Jr., has state-of-the-art sporting venues, such as The Ripken Experience-Aberdeen, APGFCU Arena and Cedar Lane. Harford offers serene beauty with open spaces, a diverse dining scene for groups and a hassle-free environment.
Event owners interested in hosting in a beautiful county like Harford can reach out to Matthew at email@example.com for a list of venues and unique spaces to host events.
North Carolina: Raleigh
Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA)
Scott Dupree is Executive Director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA), a division of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau. In that capacity, he is responsible for promoting Raleigh, Cary and Wake County as a premier destination for sporting events.
Dupree currently serves as chair of the newly formed North Carolina Sports Leadership Council, comprised of sports executives from around the state.
In his time at GRSA, Dupree has chaired local organizing committees for events such as NCAA Men’s & Women’s Basketball Tournaments, NCAA College Cup, NHL Entry Draft, NHL All-Star Weekend, IRONMAN 70.3, Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Basketball Tournament and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Basketball Tournament, among others.
In 2018 Dupree was named the most influential sports person in the Triangle by The News & Observer, and in 2014, he was named CVB and Sports Commission Professional of the Year by Connect Sports. Under his leadership the GRSA was named Sports Tourism Organization of the Year (for population 250,000 and above) in 2015 by the National Association of Sports Commissions (now Sports ETA). He is currently a member of the North Carolina Baseball Museum Board of Directors.
North Carolina: Winston-Salem
Visit Winston-Salem scored a huge win when North Carolina native Paul Sheehan joined the team as Sports Development Manager in February 2022. Paul has seven years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industries, most recently as director of sports development for Play Greenville (NC) Sports.
In addition to top-notch college facilities, Winston-Salem has a state-of-the-art indoor track (JDL Fast Track), a spacious arena (Joel Coliseum), and the region’s largest multi-sports complex (RISE Indoor Sports). Winston-Salem recently hosted the 2022 NCAA DIII Indoor Track & Field Championships and the 2023 ACCHL Hockey Tournament.
An Eagle Scout, Paul grew up in Charlotte, attended Appalachian State University and earned a master’s and MBA in Sports Management from East Carolina University. Named a “Rising Star” by the N.C. Travel Industry Association in 2019, Paul serves on the NC Sports Leadership Council and chair of the NC Sports Association (NCSA).
When not at Visit Winston-Salem, Paul spends his leisure time outdoors, hiking, camping or boating.
Paul can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 336-728-4215. Learn more about Winston-Salem Sports offerings at visitwinstonsalem.com/sports-overview.
Shores & Islands Ohio
Cody Carson joined Shores & Islands Ohio in 2022 coming from a graduate assistant coaching role at Lourdes University, and quickly embraced the role sport plays in the regions’ tourism efforts.
Cody has a bachelor’s in Sport Administration from Kent State University and a master’s from Lourdes University with experience in events ranging from youth sport camps to collegiate national championships
Now calling America’s Sports & Family Fun Capital® his home, Cody is responsible for attracting and supporting the many different event planners looking for a host for their events to Shores & Islands Ohio with services like grant programs, visitor guides, and marketing assistance to enhance the experience for every athlete entering the destination, from wrestling tournaments at Cedar Point Sports Center to baseball tournaments at Sports Force Parks to the triathlons at in one of the many coastal communities in Shores & Islands Ohio.
Cody can be contacted at 419-625-2985 or cody@shoresand
Oklahoma: Oklahoma City
Visit Oklahoma City
Adam Wisniewski has served as Visit Oklahoma City’s Vice President of Sports Development for over a year and has already helped bring multiple national conferences and events to the Modern Frontier.
A 2015 graduate of Oklahoma State University, Adam spent five years with the Arlington Sports Commission prior to joining the team at Visit Oklahoma City. In October 2022, Adam helped coordinate the Teams Conference & Expo at the Oklahoma City Convention Center, bringing in record-setting numbers. In September of 2022, after the International Canoe Federation pulled its world championship event from Moscow, Russia, Adam helped successfully bring the international event to Riversport Rapids in OKC.
Adam and Oklahoma City proved to be such good hosts that the ICF agreed to return to the Modern Frontier in future years for the world championship event. Adam has also helped coordinate a big 2023 in OKC, aiding in the selection of Oklahoma City as the host of USA Gymnastics 2023 Development Nationals event and landing OKC on the Savanna Bananas 2023 travel list.
Oregon: Lane County
J.B. Carney, Senior Director
Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission
TrackTown has a new champion. J.B. Carney joined the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission as Senior Director in June of 2022 just prior to Eugene hosting the World Athletics Championships Oregon22. Carney hit the ground running with unbridled enthusiasm that continues throughout his work and every project he approaches.
Carney served over seven years on the Board of Directors for Travel Lane County, the Sports Commission’s umbrella company, prior to joining the sports team. He brings 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry and served in a variety of positions at Marriott and Intercontinental Hotel Group properties, most recently serving as general manager at a boutique hotel in Eugene. He earned both his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and his Master of Science degree in Hospitality Administration from Oklahoma State University.
Carney’s passion for sport and community building is palpable. In his short time leading the Sports Commission, he has developed a vision that not only seeks to grow sports tourism in the region, but also to build facility infrastructure and develop community programs to support local clubs and organizations.
Event owners who want to learn more about the region’s incredible sports venues and unrivaled natural venues can contact J.B. at JB@EugeneCascadesCoast.org.
Chris Ackerman has been with Discover Lancaster for 14 years, initially starting as the sports marketing manager and in 2015, being promoted to director of sales. In addition to overseeing the sports market in Lancaster County, Chris also oversees the sales department which encompasses domestic and international tour and travel, as well as meetings and conventions. The sports market has grown to over $80 million in countywide economic impact, from hosting everything from NCAA Championships to international events such as The Pan American Field Hockey Games in Lancaster County.
“Chris has been a great asset to PA Classics and to our soccer tournament series as we’ve looked to both grow and understand the sports tourism market,” said Michael Henning, VP and Tournament Director of Pennsylvania Classics AC. “His keen knowledge of the local community, the hotel accommodations industry, and the economic impact our events have within that space have aided our progress as an organization and greatly contributed to our success.”
Prior to coming to Discover Lancaster, Chris spent over twelve years with the Marriott, Hilton and InterContinental Hotels. He has over 20 years of involvement in youth sports ranging from coaching club level to the collegiate level.
Event owners who want more information can contact Chris at email@example.com.
Texas: Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi Sports Commission
Joey Jewell joined Visit Corpus Christi back in June of 2022 as a part of a major destination initiative to create the first ever Corpus Christi Sports Commission. Now as the Executive Director, Jewell brings over 13 years of sports industry experience to the Gulf Coast Capital and has been instrumental in building the foundation of the sports commission.
“This community has the opportunity to become a real player in this industry, and I’m excited to build our reputation as the Gulf Coast capital for sports,” says Jewell. Known to have some of the best wind in the world, renowned fishing, and miles of beaches, Corpus Christi is primed to be the premier coastal destination in Texas.
A native Texan, Jewell received his B.S. in Sports Management at the University of Texas and his M.S. in Sport Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia. He is also certified as a Sports Tourism Strategist (STS) by Sports ETA. Prior to Corpus Christi, Jewell led the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission, working on a number of notable events such as the 2016 & 2021 Olympic Trials for Track & Field, 2019 USA BMX Gold Cup Finals Northwest, multiple NCAA Championships for Track & Field, and the World Athletics Championships Oregon22.
Texas: Round Rock
Round Rock, Texas Convention and Visitors Bureau
As the Director of the Round Rock, Texas Convention and Visitors Bureau, Nancy Yawn continues to deliver a world-class experience with every tournament that is played in her dynamic community. As a partner to the teams she hosts, she is fully invested in their success.
She was a pivotal player in the sports marketing efforts in Round Rock, helping to create a premier destination for sporting events and launching the region’s Sports Capital of Texas brand. With her continued dedication to the Sports Capital of Texas brand, Round Rock is on the map as a top destination in Texas for youth and amateur sports. In fact, this year, Round Rock will host three national championships.
Yawn was awarded the Sports Tourism Specialist (STS) designation through Sports ETA, of which she is a former board member.
She also received the Destination Management Association International’s designation of Certified Destination Marketing Executive, one of the highest certifications in the tourism industry.
In recent years, Yawn was named several times as one of the top 50 planners in the United States by Sports Events magazine as well as Who’s Who in Leadership by Sports Destination Management magazine.
Virginia: Virginia Beach
Dani Timm, STS
Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau
Born and raised in Wyoming, Dani Timm graduated from the University of Iowa (GO HAWKEYES!) and was recently promoted to the Director of Virginia Beach Sports Tourism. Dani has worked in the industry for over a decade and during her tenure with Virginia Beach has, with her team, booked over 1,000 events. She earned her Sports Tourism Specialist (STS) designation through Sports ETA, an organization she’s been a part of for more than 10 years. She was instrumental in helping build and sell the Virginia Beach Sports Center which, as of 2023, has hosted 187 events, showcasing over 500,000 athletes and 600,000 spectators. Additionally, Dani succeeded in the recruitment of NCAA Indoor Track and Field (four years); the Montreal-based action sports festival, Jackalope; and many more.
“Being a part of the team that researched, planned and developed the Virginia Beach Sports Center has been a major career achievement for me,” said Dani. The state-of-the-art sports tournament venue has been an overarching success for Virginia Beach.
Dani is the team jokester who is always plotting a good prank. In her free time, she enjoys watching college football, going to breweries and beach time with friends. A coworker of Dani’s says she is “experienced, energetic, and always 100 percent transparent with clients. She never promises what she can’t deliver.”
More information is available by contacting Dani at 757-385-6663 or dtimm@VisitVirginiaBeach.com.
Washington: Snohomish County
Snohomish County Sports Commission
For over 18 years, Tammy’s passion has been sports in the Pacific Northwest. Tammy is the executive director of the Snohomish County Sports Commission. Her commitment to sports tourism in Snohomish County has brought a variety of sporting events to the county over the years.
The national and international events she has helped her team bring are Skate America, SLS Seattle, ACL Pro Shootout & Bacardi Spiced Open Series, Spartan Race, and USA Curling National Championship. The Snohomish County Sports Commission works with their local sports organizations to ensure these organizations host a successful tournament. Previous to being the executive director of the Snohomish County Sports Commission, she worked for the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau as the Sports Development Director. She led the sports division of the Tourism Bureau for 16 years. In 2020, the Snohomish County Sports Commission became a standalone sports commission.
Tammy has been involved on committees with the Sports Events & Tourism Association (Sports ETA). She enjoys sharing knowledge about the sports tourism industry so that others may be successful in what they do. Currently, she is the president of the Rotary Club of Everett, associate board member of Camp Fire Snohomish County, and on the Membership Committee – Esports Trade Association. SDM