“Fully Blended” Sports Commissions

Organizational Incorporation – SDOs in this category were generally divisions or departments of the recognized DMO/CVB in the region.  Blended models can also include a governmental agency as the host of the sports tourism organizations, such as a city or county.  Unlike the dotted line model, these organizations are completely under (or “blended” into) their parent DMO/CVB or government agency.  In this model, even when the sports department within the DMO/CVB or government agency is called a “Sports Commission”, the reality is the DMO/CVB/government department controls the mission, goals, and budget of the organization.  Organizations in this structure sometimes dedicate staff specifically to the sports market, however most often (especially in the smaller markets) the DMO/CVB entrusts business development for sports to a salesperson who has responsibilities in other markets. 

Board Structure – Since this model is under the City/DMO/CVB, they do not have a dedicated Board of Directors.  Organizations in this structure sometimes have a sports advisory board, however these advisory groups have no governance responsibilities over the organization.  A best practice in this structure is to make sure that the sports division has representation on the DMO/CVB Board.  During the data capture for this project, it was determined one organization included the business development/sales representative on the DMO/CVB executive team.  

Event Portfolio – This model’s event portfolio ranged from 60 to 100 events hosted or serviced per year.  Analysis showed that some service events similar to a traditional Sports Commission, while others just “touch” the events in a generic and periphery manner. 

Organizational Challenges – Challenges in this area trended towards industry relevance, recognition for the events they bring to the destination, and the services they offer to those events.  Notable challenges included being overshadowed by the DMO/CVB to not being included in acquisition of events that they (the sports department) would later have to support once the event is secured by a stakeholder.   

Suggested Organizational Changes – Data did not show any consistent trends for change.  In one example, the organization was very intentional on their formation strategies and they are finding success.  Another example showed the desire to formalize their sports efforts within their existing structure.  The safety of being housed within an organization like a DMO/CVB that has a dedicated funding source is the most compelling reason for these entities to not change their operational model.

Funding Models – Sports tourism organizations within this model are almost 100% funded via public tax dollars.  The public tax dollars are usually a percentage of the “bed tax” that is directed to the DMO/CVB that then uses those funds to support sports tourism marketing efforts.

Marketing Allocations – In terms of marketing allocations, this group spends more of their budget on branding.  Many also have assistance from their parent DMO/CVB in terms of in house staff support (example: the CVB marketing director also serves as the sports tourism marketing agent).  Organizations in this structure usually spend more of their resources in traditional advertising, trade show sponsorships, and on FAM tours than the other two models presented here.

Largest Organizational Expenses – In general, the organizations that fall under the blended model spend most of their resources on the following line items:

  • Event hosting

  • Travel and entertainment

  • Unplanned event support