A whirlwind tour to promote Hamilton County sports
With the business of youth sports reaching $8 billion nationally, HCSA is busy capturing its fair share! Director William Knox and Sports Coordinator Sarah Billman conducted a whirlwind tour across the country this fall hitting conferences and conventions, including S.P.O.R.T.S in Daytona Beach, Fla., Amateur Softball Association Conference in Oklahoma City, the National Softball Association Conference in Panama City, Fla. and Sports Links in Colorado Springs.

While at TEAMS Conference & Expo in Salt Lake City – billed as the largest gathering of sports-event organizers in the country − Hamilton County Sports Authority sponsored a bus, inviting 55 VIPs on board, and then took them to dinner, all the while promoting Hamilton County and its newest field, Grand Park, which will open this spring. Attendees raved about Grand Park after seeing a video featuring the new complex during the bus trip to dinner. It even sparked the attention of a Salt Lake City Magazine reporter, who interviewed Knox for this article.

Sports tourism is $8.3 billion industry
Two issues impacting youth sports highlighted the Fall 2013 Sports Summit: head injuries and the growth in the industry.

Concussions continue to make headlines as more athletes are diagnosed with the traumatic head injury. Gone are the days of coaches telling kids to “just walk it off” after a head-to-head collision on the football field, and for good reason.

More than 300,000 concussions are reported annually during sporting events, while about 900 people die annually from concussions suffered during competitive and recreational sports, said Dr. Tamika Knox, associate professor of clinical family and sports medicine at IU School of Medicine, one of the featured speakers at the annual summit.

Those participating in sports and involved in sporting events need to understand the warning signs and the dangers. While severe concussions may cause a person to lose consciousness, other symptoms, such dizziness, blurred vision, headaches and sensitivity to light and sound, aren’t as readily known, and they should be, Knox said.

The Sports Summit also featured well-known sports consultant Dale Neuberger of TSE Consulting in Indianapolis, who spoke about the growth and trends in sports marketing, which has become an $8.3 billion industry in the US. It’s also proven to be a recession-proof market, driven by the increase in people focused on living healthy lifestyles. Some key trends:
- Increasingly, people are looking for activity-based holidays, especially short duration, long-weekend vacations.
- More people are involved in high endurance and physically challenging events.
- There is an increased demand for youth sports.
- Passive sports tourism has seen increased attendance at major sporting events and even an increase in the number of fans at both the professional and collegiate level traveling to games or events.

The Hamilton County Sports Authority hosts the Sports Summit annually to bring together event organizers and league leaders from around the county. December’s sports networking event also was a hit, with a round robin style
table-to-table opportunity to connect representatives from the lodging, sports and destination marketing sectors – followed by holiday cheer.