Inside Events: Hype Nation, LLC

3 Jan, 2021

By: Mary Helen Sprecher


One of the most popular youth sports, volleyball, is positioned to make a strong comeback in 2021. Event owner Hype Nation, LLC, whichmade its bow in the market in the last months of 2020, offering youth club tournaments nationwide, intends to be a driving force.

Born out of a partnership between Sports Facilities (SF) Companies, and Showtime Events, Hype Nation is designed to maximize economic impact results to host communities including $6 million in forecasted economic impact in their first two events alone.

SDM caught up with its personnel (Justin Roach, National Director – Events & Entertainment for Sports Facilities Companies; and Troy Helton, Hype Nation Partner, Showtime Events) to learn what’s ahead for the program and what it hopes to accomplish.

Sports Destination Management: Hype Nation is off to a great start. What events have you booked?

Justin Roach: We have two events coming up: the Frozen Lake Festival at Cedar Point Sports Center on January 23, and the Clash in Carolina, at Rocky Mount Event Center on February 20.

SDM: Do you have any economic figures on those yet?

Roach: They are on pace to generate nearly 6,000 new visitors and 2,500 booked hotel room nights.

SDM: How is it working out?

Troy Helton: COVID aside, our goal for the tournament in Ohio is to have as many as 160 teams, or even upwards of 200 teams. Right now, both events are filling up nicely. Our first goal was to be at 80 percent capacity, but I think we’re going to be well over that.

SDM: What was your inspiration for having a start-up event?

Roach: The idea of Hype Nation started in the early weeks of the pandemic as we were conducting calls to our network of event operators and providing resources to weather the storm. At this point we were having to cancel or reschedule most of our events and were already looking at scenarios to return to play safely. One of the calls was with Troy Helton, who had been organizing volleyball events for more than a decade and operating high-performing events in the SFM Network.

Together, we decided that post COVID-19, we could be even stronger if we worked together in creating new events and serving our communities. Troy has a history of being able to max out the number of teams in tournaments. There are plenty of event operators who say they can do that but, in the end, many can’t deliver. Troy can deliver. In addition, we started working with another key person in Showtime Events, Andy Cavin. SFM’s business model is about collaborating, not competing. Troy and Andy’s work is highly credible and it matches the quality of the events we like to offer.

SDM: How do you plan to keep conditions safe for athletes when putting on events?

Roach: Both of those events are within SFM network venues and our protocol and response are top of class and best in the industry, implementing best practices possible. Those events, and others that follow, ultimately will be held in compliance with local and state, and CDC guidelines.

SDM: What made you focus on the club volleyball market initially?

Roach: I would say that the club volleyball tournaments are really important to the destinations the SFM Network serves, since they produce that high volume of visitors during non-peak hotel months. Right now, that’s what we’re focused on, but we will be branching out to other opportunities.

SDM: Including beach volleyball?

Helton: Yes – I’ve been in talks with people who run some sand facilities and they were talking about having us come in and run a tournament.

SDM: What are you looking for in potential host venues?

Helton: I think the main thing we want are facilities that have at least 12 courts under one roof, with between 12 and 24 courts for very large tournaments. Any location across the U.S. is good, depending upon the weekend. Obviously, we don’t want to be in town during a weekend when there is another big event going on.

Note: More information on requirements for hosting can be found on the website at this link.

Roach: Our business model is to create events at the grassroots level and quickly reach their highest level of performance. Hype Nation events become regular dates for the venue and community and generate consistent tourism results. We’re looking for hosts that will support our efforts to develop new events – destinations and partners we can call home for many years to come.       

Note: Destinations and facilities who want to contact Hype Nation to learn more, or who want to be considered as potential hosts, can submit their information using this form.


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