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This past week, five years’ worth of NCAA championships across numerous sports and multiple divisions (460 events in all) were awarded to communities all across the United States.  The date the NCAA announces the future hosts for all these events is one that nearly every sports tourism destination circles on their calendar.  It is an important day for cities that will positively (or negatively) impact them for years to come.  This process is only conducted every few years, so those that receive good news on this day are set up for the future.  Those that miss out on events they had targeted have to go back to the drawing board and find other championships to fill the gaps.

Last week’s announcements (or the closing of a “bid cycle” as the NCAA defines it) served many of our past and current Huddle Up Group destination partners well.  Here is a quick breakdown.

  • 23 current or former HUG partner destinations landed events.

  • Those 23 destinations combined to secure a total of 68 championships.  These ranged from the larger items on the menu (men’s basketball and Frozen Four) to some of the cool DII and DII championships (Elite 8, cross country, fencing, sports festivals, etc.).

  • These partners landed 14.78% of all the championships awarded.  This is quite a significant number when you consider the number of total bids that were submitted by the 500+ destinations that are active in the sports tourism marketplace today.

Why do we say all this?  Two reasons.

  1. We want to thank our partners and to shine a light on their successes.  Without great partners, none of us would be able to achieve anything meaningful.

  2. It is one thing to have a game plan, like those we help develop with our partners.  It is quite another to go out and execute that plan.  Our partners are great at following through and executing the game plan, thusly they have been successful in attracting marquee events like these to their communities.

Those are the big takeaways from what can be a daunting process (the “bid cycle”).  First, great partnerships are everything.  Second, it’s not just having a plan, it is putting the work behind it that leads to success.

One follow up note here from my favorite movie and one of my all-time favorite characters, Kermit the Frog…

In the Muppet Movie (circa 1979), Kermit is tormented by the evil Doc Hopper, played by award winning actor Charles Durning.  Doc Hopper had a chain of fried frog legs restaurants and wanted Kermit to be his spokesperson.  You can see why this may have caused Kermit some pause knowing he would be marketing a company that basically would be hunting for his friends, but I won’t ruin the plot line for those that haven’t seen the movie.

Nearing the end of the film, Doc Hopper explains that with Kermit’s help, he can take over the world and make a ton of money with his frog legs stores.  Kermit’s response is the “big idea” for today.  Noticing that Doc didn’t seem to have any allies even within his own ranks, Kermit said to Doc, “Well Doc, if you get everything you want and have all this success, who are you going to share it with?”

Sharing success with great partners it the best journey one can have. 

Congrats to everyone that celebrated victory last week.  Work with great partners.  Execute.  More greatness will follow.  Enjoy the journey.

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