Want to kick 2020 to the curb in a big way? (Realistically, who doesn’t?) There’s a new volleyball brand in town looking for great places to call home. Hype Nation, LLC, launched late last month.
Born out of a partnership between Sports Facilities (SF) Companies, and Showtime Events, Hype Nation made its debut in late November. And according to organizers, it is designed to maximize economic impact results to host communities including $6 million in forecasted economic impact in their first two events alone.
And if that number didn’t get your attention, these will: In January of 2021, Hype Nation will launch events at the Cedar Point Sports Center in Sandusky, Ohio and Rocky Mount Event Center in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, that are on pace to generate nearly 6,000 new visitors and 2,500 booked hotel room nights.
According to Justin Roach, National Director – Events & Entertainment for Sports Facilities Companies, the opportunity for a new event was an example of finding a silver lining in a very dark cloud.
“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 those calls was with Troy Helton, who had been organizing volleyball events for more than a decade and operating in the SFM Network.
“Troy had a great resume of high performing events within the SFM Network,” Roach notes. “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.”
Something else the new events are expected to deliver is a safe experience for all participants, starting with the inaugural tournaments in January.
“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,” says Roach. “Those events, and others that follow, ultimately will be held in compliance with local and state, and CDC guidelines.”
“COVID aside, our goal for the tournament in Ohio is to have as many as 160 teams, or even upwards of 200 teams,” says Helton. “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.”
Another key factor in the Hype Nation equation is Andy Cavin, who works with Showtime Events, which partners with Sports Facilities.
“SFM’s business model is about collaborating, not competing,” says Roach. “Troy and Andy’s work is highly credible and it matches the quality of the events we like to offer. We want to create events that everyone is happy with.”
Showtime is a proven event partner within the SFM Network and has a reputation for delivering high quality events for participants as well as delivering heads-in-beds and new market visitors,” adds Jason Clement, SF Companies’ CEO and Co-Founder.
Using the philosophy, “a rising tide lifts all boats,” the Sports Facilities Company, Cavin and Helton began working together to craft a new event: Hype Nation, dedicated to the indoor club volleyball scene – at least, says Roach, “that is phase one.”
“I would say that the club volleyball tournaments are really important to the destinations the SFM Network serves,” he adds, “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.”
Including, says Troy Helton, beach volleyball.
“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.”
For now, the focus is on the indoor game, and Hype Nation is seeking some new destinations to host its events in the coming year. So what is it looking for?
“I think the main thing we want are facilities that have at least 12 courts under one roof,” says Helton. “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.”
Very large tournaments will require facilities that can house between 12 and 24 courts, he adds.
The driving force, after all, is a world-class volleyball experience for club teams and the creation of an economic boost to the host.
“Our business model is to create events at the grassroots level and quickly reach their highest level of performance,” interjects Roach, “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.”
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.