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Up for Bid: NAIA’s Football and Cross Country Championships

20 May, 2021

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

NAIA has two outstanding events bidding for multiple years. And while both bids are due on Tuesday, June 1, they represent great pieces of business for interested cities.

The NAIA Football National Championship is looking for a home in 2021 and 2022. The dates of the championships are December 18, 2021.

According to NAIA, the move in/move out pattern is as follows: Teams arrive on Tuesday and depart on Sunday, with two teams, (with 100+ players, coaches and trainers each), as well as 3,000 to 8,000 fans.

Still on the fence? Consider this. In one of the most hotly contested NAIA Football Championships in recent memory, the 2018 NAIA Football National Championship was a touchdown for Daytona Beach as well. The region was the beneficiary of over $1 million in economic development as the result of the title game, based on hotel nights and total spending.

According to NAIA, the by-the-numbers breakdown is impressive as well:

  • Over $1 Million overall impact to the region for the one-day competition
  • Approximately 800 hotel room nights were booked for the championship
  • Over 5,000 fans in attendance

To learn more, please download the NAIA Championship Host Manual & Style Guide | To bid, interested cities should complete this BID PACKET and send to Kelli Briscoe.

Facility Requirements: A stadium type facility with a seating capacity of 5,000 minimum and a synthetic playing surface. The field width shall be 80 yards and the length shall be 120 yards. The facility must contain an elevated press box that can house between 50 and 75 people with electric power and phone lines, while being able to accommodate television staging and talent, as well as an Instant Replay System. This press box must have closed off coaches' rooms, PA system and controls to electronic scoreboard. The facility must have platforms for TV cameras on the same side as the press box. Camera platforms should ideally be located between the 35 and 40 yard lines on both sides of the 50 yard line.  Goal post must be collegiate and/or professional in dimensions.

Practice facilities must be available for the three days prior to the championship that contain the same playing surface as the championship game field. This is preferable but not mandatory.

Hotel Requirements: Centralized properties capable of accommodating several meetings and a banquet for 350-500 people.

Average Length of Stay: Four nights

Room Block Needed: 200 per night divided between four hotels (two team hotels and two fan hotels)

Room Rate: The price range is $90-$115 regardless of room occupancy.

Hotel Pre-Registration: The NAIA will be responsible for making team, officials, media and staffing reservations, team hotel assignments and arrangements for paying for rooms with the hotel.

For more information, contact Kelli Briscoe, Championship Event Manager, at 816-595-8141 or e-mail kbriscoe@naia.org.

Event History:

2019-20: Eddie G. Robinson Stadium, Grambling, La.

2014-18: Municipal Stadium, Daytona Beach, Fla.

2008-13: Barron Stadium, Shorter College, Rome/Floyd County

1998-07 Jim Carroll Stadium, Team Hardin County

“It was a pleasure hosting the NAIA Football National Championship in Daytona Beach 2014-2018,” said Linda McMahon, Daytona Beach Area CVB director of group sales. “Hosting an NAIA-level championship gave us the opportunity to shine a light on our state-of-the-art sports facilities while providing NAIA friends and families with a bounty of attractions to enjoy on their beach getaway. Our community appreciated the teams' commitment to visiting our schools and hospitals and recognizing the aspirations of our youth through the Champions of Character program. It was an outstanding five years!”

More information is available at this link.

The NAIA Men's and Women's Cross Country National Championships are bidding as well, for events to be held in 2022 and 2024. Event dates are November 18, 2022 and November 22, 2024.

This event attracts a total of 36 men's teams and 36 women's teams (7 runners per team), plus 2-6 individual qualifiers for men and women in each conference, for a total of about 320 runners per gender. A total of 1,500 fans also will attend each event.

Facility Requirements: A well-kept cross country course that has a 5K women's course and an 8K men's course with 4-6 finish line chutes and automatic timing equipment. Must be able to accommodate championship awards ceremony (approx. 1,000) at or near the course.

Hotel Requirements: NAIA specifies one headquarters hotel within 15 minutes of the course. Meeting room space for at least 150 is also needed. Overflow/alternate housing (2-4 hotels) for participants and fans is also requested.

Average Length of Stay for athletes is 2 to 3 nights, and the room block needed ranges from 500-550.  The recommended room rate price range is $90-$115, regardless of room occupancy.

Participants will be responsible for making reservations and paying for rooms directly with the hotel on the approved housing list from the Host.

Interested in hosting? Download the NAIA Championship Host Manual & Style Guide. In order to bid, it is necessary to complete this BID PACKET and send it to Courtney Fegter, Championship Sport Manager, who can also be reached at 816-595-8156.

In January of 2020, the 64th annual men’s and 40th women’s championships were hosted in Vancouver, Washington by the Cascade Collegiate Conference for the sixth time.

The NAIA Cross Country Championships brought around 72 teams and their fans to Vancouver for stays ranging from one to four days. Over the course of the championship, teams and fans not only occupied the hotels of the region but patronized local restaurants and attractions. The event by the numbers was as follows:

  • Overall Economic impact estimated at $1,336,464
  • Average stay of four days
  • Estimated 1,934 hotel rooms used

 “We were thrilled to have the NAIA Cross Country Championships return to Vancouver this year, with more than 700 runners competing and filling over 1800 room nights. The races are a perfect fit for our community and are also a great boost to the economy, generating an estimated $1.3 million in economic impact. Our local businesses were thrilled with the turnout over the course of the races,” said Michelle McKenzie, Visit Vancouver USA Director of Marketing and Communications. 

Want to know more about the event? Click here.

A complete hosting history follows:

  • 2018 & 2020: Seminole Valley Cross Country Course, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Mount Mercy University               
  • 2017 & 2019: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Vancouver, Washington, Cascade Collegiate Conference
  • 2016: North Farm Cross Country Course, Elsah, Illinois, American Midwest Conference
  • 2015: McAlpine Creek Park, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • 2013-14: Rim Rock Farm, Lawrence, Kansas; Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference & Lawrence Sports Corporation
  • 2009-12: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Vancouver, Washington; Cascade Collegiate Conference & Concordia University-Portland 
  • 2007-08: Dr. Wayne E. Dannehl Cross Country Course, Kenosha, Wisconsin; Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • 2003-06: E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park, Louisville, Kentucky; Greater Louisville Sports Commission 
  • 25 years: Dr. Wayne E. Dannehl Cross Country Course, Parkside, Wisconsin; University of Wisconsin, Parkside 
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