By The Numbers

A famous quote says, “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” The quote is largely attributed to business guru Peter Drucker. In fact, the saying was first coined by British scientist William Thomson, aka Lord Kelvin. He was the only scientist ever elevated to the House of Lords. Check out his Wikipedia page, the guy was brilliant.

In our work with sports tourism organizations, we are often asked what to measure beyond room nights and economic impact. We like to take that question to another level and ask our partners where they are today and where they want to be tomorrow. Basically, we want to establish a baseline for the current efforts and define what a “home run” looks like in the future - using numbers versus anecdotal data.

If you are a regular reader of the Monday Huddle Up you know that we recently launched a tool that can do just that – measure. The Sports Tourism Index™ numerically analyses sports tourism organizations across many matrix within four main categories – facilities, destination strength, organizational structure, and events. In the two months since we introduced the Index, we have received a strong response from destinations across the country. For those of you that have gone through the process of completing the Index we wanted to give you some benchmarking data. For those of you that have yet to go through it, we wanted to show you what the Index measures, and later in this week’s Huddle Up, we have an incentive for you to plug into this great new evaluation tool.

Here are some general differences between organizations that have completed the Sports Tourism Index™ so far…..

  • Budgets – The highest scoring organizations have budgets (not including staff or overhead) of more than $600,000. Average organizations had budgets above $150,000 with lower ranking organizations under $150,000.

  • Staff Size – The number of staff dedicated to the sports market varied greatly. High ranking organizations had seven (7) or more staff, the middle scoring respondents had three (3) staff on average, and the lower tiered scores had one (1) or less full-time staff members dedicated to sports.

  • Facilities – Organizations that scored the highest exhibited a solid number of both spectator focused and also participant driven facilities. Those that were in the middle or average ranking group had a limited supply of “anchor” facilities, or those that can host the larger national tournaments all by themselves. The group that ranked in the lower third showed a limited supply of “anchor” and/or “tournament-friendly” facilities (the latter defined as tournament quality venues that would need to be partnered with other facilities to host larger regional and national events).


Additionally, below are a few benchmarks across all of the respondents to this point. Some interesting tidbits here…..

  • Half of all respondents have an existing funding source for the enhancement of their current facilities, and 70% have an ongoing funding source for new facility development.

  • The average staff size for those surveyed was 4 full-time people dedicated to sports.

  • 70% of respondent organizations have a dedicated sports service position.

  • 60% of the organizations surveyed have a Board of Directors.

  • The average number of bid-in events hosted was 16 per year.

  • The average number of locally produced or created events was 27 per year.

  • Organizations surveyed said they serviced an average of 40 events per year.


Data points such as these allow us to set the baseline so we can measure growth and success in the future. With that in mind, we would like to have more organizations go through the Sports Tourism Index™ evaluation process. The more organizations/communities we have in the database, the better we can help the industry and your individual organizations evaluate themselves.

The resulting report that comes from the Index provides participants a comparative evaluation on where the organization/destination is strong, and where there may be room for improvement. So far, we have given respondents a basic one page dashboard showing their scores in the four measurement areas and a grand total. In an effort to strengthen the overall results for your destination and the industry at large, we are making a special offer…..

Those that finish the Index by July 31st, we will provide you a free statistical analysis which includes the two reports outlined below. As a final carrot, on August 1st we will enter those organizations that have completed the Index into a drawing for one of five $100 gift cards. Here is a link to start the process:

http://www.huddleupgroup.com/sportstourismindex

Once you complete the Index questions, the free upgraded report includes the following:

  • Final Score Dashboard – Shows the categories your organization was ranked in, scores for the four key measurement areas and a final total score. Ranks your organization into one of three tiers. Shows your organization’s average scores by market size and within your own geographic region. Also gives brief summaries for each of the four major areas and brief recommendations for strengthening each area based on your score and ranking.

  • Industry Averages Report – Shows your scores for each of the four key areas and the total compared to the averages of all other respondents, including a differential analysis. Also includes a breakdown of each of the sub-categories within the four major areas along with your scores compared to the national averages for each sub-category area.


Going back to our initial theme, “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” We have built a tool for our industry to measure its sports tourism efforts and to see where improvement opportunities most likely exist.

We believe the Sports Tourism Index™ will soon be adopted across the industry as a prime benchmarking tool for sports organizations of all shapes and sizes. We hope you plug in and set your baselines today, for success tomorrow.

Let us know if you have any questions along the journey. Have a great week ahead!