It's OK to Say No
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As I’ve gained more “experience” (another way of stating that I’m getting older) in this industry, I tend to be more straight forward about the positives and negatives of the sports events industry. No need to sugar coat anything. And that’s what I’d like to comment on here, to hopefully save those of you just getting started, a lot of potential headaches.
So, here’s the scenario - you’ve just started your career at your local sports commission or CVB as the new sports events’ sales manager. As the new person, you’re fired up because you get to work in sports, and you think you have the sports facilities in your area to do big things. And you want to get out there and get that first big event for your area, a real home run, as soon as possible. You attend your first NASC Symposium and meet with numerous event-owners and they all sound great. You think to yourself, wow we could do ALL these events in our destination – maybe even in one year! Of course, your passion is commendable and that’ll serve you well as you grow in the sports’ events profession.
But, before you go too quickly down the road of that big gymnastics or volleyball or basketball event for your city or county, I suggest slowing down and taking a breath. Before you really pursue that big event, you MUST first do a lot of research. That is extremely important. The worst thing that could happen is your destination is awarded an event for which you really don’t have the correct facility, or the sports-specific volunteer base, or the proper amount of funding you’ll need, or any litany of issues which may come up. What I’m stating here is, when you start out in this business, it’s good to hit a few singles and doubles first before you go after that home run event. Experience hosting/running the “smaller” events will pay off in the long run when you do lasso that big one. The WORST thing that can happen is to get awarded a big event that you’re really not ready for and have that event go off poorly (or not as well as the client wanted). In our industry, good news travels at a fast speed, but negative news travels at warp speed. And believe me, you don’t want to run a shoddy event as that will come back to bite you in the long run.
So even as you’re evaluating whether to go after any sports event, slow down and ask a lot of questions of your peers, local volunteers, the event-owners themselves, or anyone else you think could help. Slow down and conduct the research needed. If what an event-owner says doesn’t sound like it would be a fit for your destination, It’s Okay to Say No – at least initially. My final thought is to always try to keep your passion for this industry as the rewards will come back many times over for you and your destination as you grow in experience.
Mobile Sports Authority
NASC Mentoring & Engagement Committee