Sports Summit

More than 60 hoteliers, business and city leaders and sports organizations from around Hamilton County got insights on how to create great experiences for fans and athletes during the annual Sports Summit sponsored by Hamilton County Sports Authority.

Hamilton County will host more than 100,000 people in 2016 at a variety of sports events, and Hamilton County not only wants to leave a great impression, but it wants people to come back.

Matt Ruedlinger, president of Triple R Marketing in Bloomington, presented, “Creating a Gold Medal Experience: The 5 Steps to Olympic Success,” to help organizers get the most of their events.

Creating a great event is more than having great facilities. It’s about developing an experience, from the moment a destination is awarded an event. It can include everything from offering welcome packages inside the hotel to providing information on what to do in between games, making it easy to get to restaurants and providing tips on attractions not to be missed.

“Hamilton County does a fantastic job welcoming fans and athletes to our community, but we’re always looking at how we can do an even better job,” said William Knox, director of Hamilton County Sports Authority. “It’s important for all community representatives to understand their role toward making the visitor’s experience one to remember.”

Attendees learned about multiple tools on how to make that possible. The annual Sports Summit was held Nov. 18 at 502 East Event Centre in Carmel.

Champions of Sports Tourism

Sports Destination Magazine named Hamilton County Sports Authority and the NSA Northern B Fastpitch World Series as Champions of Sports Tourism for the $3.8 million economic impact the July event had on the community. The tournament drew more than 4,000 athletes ages 9 to 18 on 263 teams and more than 7,600 spectators, who booked 3,827 hotel rooms.

The award announcement was published in the November/December issue of the magazine. The annual awards program honors people and places scoring big in the sports travel industry. According to the magazine, the tournament has grown 5 percent to 10 percent every year over the last decade.

“There was tremendous support from Hamilton County itself, including the local softball community, whose volunteers helped run the tournament,” the magazine reported. “One factor in the excellent economic impact of the event was its participant demographic: Girls’ sports events tend to attract more friends and family members who travel with players, contributing significantly to local tourism.”

“This is an amazing honor for Hamilton County Sports Authority and our local youth softball partners, who put on a high-quality, high caliber event for players and their fans,” Knox said. “Our hope is we can convince NSA to come back for another tournament.”

Looking ahead to 2016

Athletic fields and courts already are filling up with tournaments and league play for 2016. Here are some of the biggest events that will bring in thousands of athletes and spectators:

  • The Boys and Girls AAU Super Regionals will be in April and May at Grand Park Fieldhouse
  • NCAA Division 2 Great Lakes Valley Conference Baseball Championships will bring eight teams in May to Grand Park
  • As many as 75 teams youth lacrosse teams will compete in the NXT Sports – The Grail and  the US Lacrosse National Championships both will be at Grand Park in July
  • The 2016 BMW Championship will be at Crooked Stick Golf Club in September
  • College Game Day will bring 10 to 14 softball teams to Grand Park in September