Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission
Asheville and Buncombe County already comprise a significant tourism destination but far-sighted community leaders still see major opportunities to increase tourism through sports events and related activities. To help develop a plan for Asheville and Buncombe County to increase their share of the Sports Tourism market, the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission, retained Sports & Properties, Inc. to conduct a countywide assessment of existing sports venues, and to recommend a plan for enhancing or expanding the region's sports infrastructure and sports events activities. SPI presented its market analysis, including opportunities identified for sports tourism market expansion, at the end of May. Local authorities have taken the recommendations under consideration and are discussing next steps for taking the Asheville-Buncombe sports economy to the next level. Meanwhile, a private group is working on development plans for two of the new venues recommended by SPI.
North Carolina FC
Thanks to the leadership of Steve Malik, Owner, and the North Carolina Football Club (NCFC) staff, sponsors, fans, and community supporters, NCFC is well into a significant campaign for one of four expansion MLS franchises slated to be awarded during the next two years.
The process for pursuing an MLS team began on Christmas Eve 2016 when Major League Soccer distributed application forms to select cities and set a deadline for submissions of January 31, 2017. NCFC called on SPI to manage the Raleigh-Durham market's application which required an extremely quick turnaround. SPI worked side-by-side with NCFC and it's third party consultants and contractors to gather the extensive information requested by MLS and pull it together into an attractive and professional Application Book for MLS review.
As part of its bid NCFC has created the largest youth-soccer-to-pro club in America, and unveiled an exciting Downtown Raleigh Stadium plan. MLS intends to announce two new expansion franchise cities in December and two additional host cities in 2018.
West Michigan Sports Commission
When Kent County, Michigan, decided to move forward on forming a sports commission in Grand Rapids, it called on Sports & Properties, Inc. to develop the plan for the creation of the commission and determine the asset base of facilities and sports organizations in the West Michigan region.
SPI reviewed all facilities throughout the region and created an extensive and detailed database of all sports venues, organizations, and contacts. SPI also developed the business plan for the start-up and operations of the West Michigan Sports Commission.
The sports commission has been highly successful since its launch, hosting national championships, multi-sport events, starting the State Games of Michigan, and even developing and operating its own sports complex.
Philadelphia Sports Congress
America's 5th largest city has seen a resurgence and was interested in making its presence known on the international front. Towards that end, the City's Sports Commission, the Philadelphia Sports Congress (PSC), was picked to coordinate a bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. In turn, the Sports Congress selected SPI to serve as its lead consultant on the Games bid.
SPI assisted the PSC with Olympic family contacts and relationships, research and analysis, strategic planning positioning, bid documentation and writing, and securing additional expertise for the bid team. Philadelphia was acknowledged as the US bid city with the most compact venue plan.
Chicago's selection as the US candidate city for the 2016 Games underscored Philadelphia's need to develop a stronger resume in Olympic sports. SPI was subsequently retained to assist the PSC in developing a multi-year Olympic sport event and development plan to address this issue.
Greater Augusta Sports Council
The Greater Augusta Sports Council was scheduled to formulate the next generation of its 3-year strategic plan, an interactive process the sports commission instituted beginning with its launch in 1992. In the past, the Sports Council had either done its planning internally or relied on a traditional facilitator from outside the sports tourism industry. This latter method resulted in a significant amount of valuable planning time being spent on trying to educate the outside facilitator on the industry.
SPI facilitated the latest Sports Council strategic planning process and helped develop the new plan. SPI was able to bring deep industry knowledge and experience to the table. SPI was able to include the latest in industry trends and benchmarking from relevant industry organizations. SPI performed a competitive analysis and also included a broad base of Sports Council constituents - including hoteliers and local sports organizers. In addition to the new strategic plan, SPI delivered a complete industry report designed to facilitate the Sports Council's implementation of the plan.
USA Field Hockey
With a new Executive Director and a more pro-active and growth oriented direction for the organization, USA Field Hockey needed a new marketing plan to match the vision of its leadership.
SPI developed a comprehensive marketing plan for the national governing body that focused on promoting USA Field Hockey and driving new and increased revenues. Towards that end, the plan included merchandising, sponsorships, events, and even naming rights at the USA Field Hockey national training center. SPI also emphasized the need for a re-branding effort and the new organizational name reflects SPI's recommendation in that regard.