Stand Alone Sports Commissions

Organizational Incorporation – All were fully incorporated with either a 501(c)3 or 501(c)6 organization.  Depending on the business model, some of these operate both a 501(c)3 and a 501(c)6 organizations to fulfill their mission objectives in multiple ways.  SDOs in this category have been incorporated and conducting business for decades, with several active for more than 30 years.  

Board Structure Board of director positions range from the teens to almost 150 members.  Sports Commissions whose board ranged from less than thirty (30) board positions determined the lower number of governing members to be manageable day-to-day and ideal to engage in the strategic direction of the organization.  The Sports Commissions with a larger number of directors tended to have a mandatory contribution as a requirement of membership and board service (thusly the larger board is more of a fundraising mechanism than one of governance).  Best practices in board composition would be to include a mixture of public and private stakeholders.  The organizations with larger boards all have a smaller “executive” committee to act on the items needed to govern daily activities of the organization and to make strategic decisions to further the company’s mission.

Event Portfolio While some Sports Commissions owned and operated less than ten (10) events per year, some host over 100 events annually depending on their organizational focus.  These “traditional” Sports Commissions are highly selective on the events they bring to their destinations.  Most often they are looking for events that have revenue opportunities and that offer their communities a high level of prestige and media exposure.  

Organizational Challenges – Analysis of the data shows that these Sports Commissions devote a large amount of time maintaining the relationships and partnerships that fund their organizations.  On the venue side, some Sport Commissions were on the verge of maximizing their venue inventory in their region through owned or hosted events.  This is the impetus for them to engage in conversations regarding the most appropriate venues needed to continue forward momentum to the region.  If funding development was mentioned as a challenge, these Sports Commissions generally had a solid strategic plan in place to address this area.  The general organizational challenges include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Funding development

  • Venue inventory utilization

  • Competing locally to stay relevant

Suggested Organizational Changes A majority of destinations noted that they would not make any major changes to their organizational structure.  Minor suggested changes included, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Increased staffing needs to grow future business

  • Specialized support resources for digital or analog marketing efforts

Funding Models – In terms of funding models, this group ranged from 100% privately funded to utilizing a mix of public and private dollars.  Further analysis determined that this group mainly develops or sustains private funds to complement their annual hosted events.  Those that received public dollars had very specific revenue categories for those public funds. 

Marketing Allocations – In terms of marketing allocations, this group spends a small fraction of their budget on their organizational branding.  Most of the “marketing” dollars are allocated in the budgets for events they host each year. 

Largest Organizational Expenses – In general, this group’s largest annual expenses included the following line items:

  • Staff salaries

  • Event execution

  • Event acquisition

  • Office space

  • Membership/stakeholder fulfillment