KNOXVILLE (May 10, 2019) – The National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC), the governing body of the $11.4 billion sport tourism industry, announced this week a new brand designed to represent a more inclusive organization to lead the sports and event tourism industry and its membership. The organization will now be referred to as Sports Events & Tourism Association or Sports ETA.
A record turnout of industry leaders in sports events and tourism attended the 27th annual symposium held here from May 6-9 to elect new leadership, honor members with national awards and participate in dozens of continuing education programs led by industry leadership.
“In our largest-ever Symposium where sports events and tourism industry leaders meet, we introduced a new brand for the organization called Sports ETA that represents the evolving and growing nature of the industry we lead,” said Al Kidd, President & CEO of Sports Events & Tourism Association. “Knoxville was a terrific host city to convene our industry to discuss best practices, new trends and business opportunities.”
New Board Leadership Elected
New board leadership was also announced, including Chair, Janis Schmees Burke, CSEE, Chief Executive Officer, Harris County – Houston Sports Authority; Vice Chair/Chair Elect Michael Price, CSEE, Executive Director, Greater Lansing Sports Authority; Treasurer Janis Ross, CSEE, Executive Director, Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports; Secretary Don Dukemineer, CSEE, CHSP, Deputy Director of Sports Tourism, Foley Sports Tourism; Immediate Past Chair Kindra Fry, CSEE, SMP, President/CEO, Bryan College Station Sports + Events.
Additional board members elected include: Frank Lett, CSEE, Senior Associate Executive Director/Director of Sports Marketing, Visit Kingsport; Ray Palmer, CSEE, President/CEO, Pensacola Sports; J.D. Wood, CSEE, General Manager, Panama City Beach Sports Complex; Genevieve Howard, CSEE, Senior Sales Manager, Louisville Tourism; Derek Bombeck, CSEE, Sales Development Manager, Lincoln CVB; Josh Dill, CSEE, Director of Sports & Events, Frisco CVB; Brent Nelson, Sr. VP of Business Development, Central Florida Sports Commission; Ashleigh Bachert, CSEE, Executive Director, Durham Sports Commission; Matthew Libber, CSEE, Executive Director, Maryland SoccerPlex; Peter Harvey, CSEE, Director of Sports Development, Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission; Marissa Werner, CSEE, Senior Sports & Entertainment Manager, VISIT Milwaukee; Hank Pivarnik, CSEE, Director of Sports Sales, Hilton Worldwide; Daniel Rush, CSEE, CMP, CASE, Vice President of Global Sports and Event Sales, MGM Resorts International; John David, CSEE, Chief Operating Officer, USA BMX and Christine Strong Simmons, Senior Director of Operations, USA Fencing.
New Hall of Fame Class Enshrined
The organization introduced its third Hall of Fame class enshrining four industry veterans: Patricia Ernstrom, Vice President of Special Events, San Francisco 49ers; Jack Kelly, CEO, World Equestrian Games; Pam Gerig-Bland, Executive Director, Palm Beach County Sports Commission; and Kevin Smith, Founder, OnPoint Sports Strategies, LLC.
Industry Leaders graduate from the Certified Sports Event Executive program
The following were honored as graduates of the Certified Sports Event Executive (CSEE): Jamie Patrick, Madison Area Sports Commission; Kristy Cox, USA Volleyball; Billy Bos, Best Western International; Danny Corte, Mobile Sports Authority; Mark Kowalewski, Visit Prince William; John Poole, Experience Kissimmee; Ashley Wilson, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism; Jeremy Leifel, Greater Columbus Sports Commission; Matthew Bosen, Visit Beloit; Daniel Gallagher; Meet AC; Kris Jackson, Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau; Kathy O'Connell, Eagan Convention & Visitors Bureau; Luchie Javelosa, Visit Tucson; Jarrett Dowling, Experience Columbia, SC Sports; Al Stauffacher, Twin Cities Gateway; Consuelo Sanchez, Pasco County; Shaheen Roostai, Riverside CVB; Sarah Kirchberg, MGM Resorts; Kelsey McLean, Best Western Hotels & Resorts; Ashleigh Bachert, Durham Sports Commission; Matt Prewitt, Central Florida Sports; Kristyn Hawkins, Visit Spartanburg; Stephanie Decatur, Fayetteville Area CVB; Mark Hargis, Tulsa Sports Commission; Clay Partain, Visit Salt Lake City; Bill Kelly, Virginia Beach CVB; Suzanne Keller, Visit Mesa; Holly Kesterson, Harris County - Houston Sports Authority; Gray Workman Williams, Visit Greenville; Anissa Brown, Visit Ogden; Chad Culver, Visit Knoxville; Dean Polk, Hershey Harrisburg Sports & Events Authority; and Lisa Motley, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority.
Industry Honors Presented
The annual prestigious national industry honors were presented at the Symposium and the following organizations and individuals were recognized:
• Sports Commission of the Year, Population Over 500,000 population: Sports Minneapolis, Powered by Meet Minneapolis
• Sports Commission of the Year, Population Under 500,000 population: Spokane Sports Commission
• Game Changer Award: Michelle Russ, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission
• Destination Branding & Marketing Campaign of the Year: Rockford Area CVB
• Event Marketing Campaign of the Year: Savannah Sports Council
• Superior Service Award: TSE Consulting
• Sports Tourism Organization of the Year, Over 500,000 population: Visit Anaheim
• Sports Tourism Organization of the Year, Under 500,000 population: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports
• Sports Tourism Executive of the Year: George Linley, Palm Beach Sports Commission
• Locally Created Event of the Year Under 500,000: Rock Hill/York County
• Locally Created Event of the Year Over 500,000: Louisville Sports Commission
Sports Legacy Fund Raises $20,000 for DreamBikes
Also, during the meeting the Sports ETA Sports Legacy Fund raised more than $20,000 to benefit Knoxville non-profit, DreamBikes, which strategically places used bicycle stores in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods to provide hands-on, paid job training to teens. Working in conjunction with local youth organizations, DreamBikes employs teens from the area to work in the store; teaching them how to refurbish bicycles, use the POS software, and to deliver great customer service. DreamBikes provides lifelong skills to our teen employees, helping them to shift gears and find a bright future.
The 28th annual NASC Symposium will be held April 20-23, 2020 in Kansas City hosted by Visit KC and Kansas City Sports Commission. Future host cities include: Birmingham, Alabama in 2021 and Fort Worth, Texas in 2022.
About the Sports Events & Tourism Association
As the only trade association for the sport tourism industry, the Sports Events & Tourism Association, formerly known as the National Association of Sports Commissions, is the most trusted resource for sports commissions, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), and sports event owners. Sports ETA is committed to the success of more than 800 member organizations and 2,000 sports event professionals. For more information, visit www.sportscommissions.org.