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Use the Data

Data Graphs

Over the past few months we have published Monday Huddle Ups on several things data related.  Data is a hot topic among our partners so we of course want to lean into that as much as we can.  This past week we had a partner of ours ask a myriad of questions about how we collect data, how we use it, and how we interpret it.  It was a great conversation for sure.  As an organization that leans on data and benchmarking more than most, we always welcome an interactive dialog in this area.

Given this feedback, we decided that this week’s Monday Huddle Up should focus on a couple of real life applications related to the use of data.  Here are four short examples for your consumption…..

  • Facilities – We use data to conduct facility feasibility studies to determine what would the economic result likely be should a new facility be developed.  We can also apply this same process to an existing venue to determine what the new business opportunity may be should enhancements be made to a facility that is already open.  We estimate what events could be captured, their economic impact, hotel and sales tax collections, hotel rooms that would be booked, total attendees that would come to the destination, etc.  Sometimes this process leads to a new venue being built and opened such as what just happened this past week.  Congratulations to our partners in West Monroe, Louisiana for last week’s ribbon cutting for their new Sports and Events facility.  This venue concept came from a feasibility process conducted a few years ago.


  • Marketing – We are working on an event project right now where we are using data to determine not only where participants come from, but where it would be most beneficial to deploy marketing dollars.  Should we focus on a 50 mile drive radius, 100 miles, 200 miles, or more?  Heat mapping the existing competitors then overlaying similar events to the one we are working with can serve as trend data to determine where it’s likely that we could recruit more athletes from in future years.  Using the data to be more intentional about where the best marketing ROI would come from is better than assuming or guessing what might work.


  • Events – Our team at Huddle Up Group just completed a project for a national level event organizer on where to place a series of new events geographically.  We used data from their membership database to show where their members lived, then we overlaid their existing event locations.  We looked at how far players were traveling to their current tournaments to get a sense for what radius we could reasonably expect to draw from for the new events that would be created.  Next we used venue data to show where the best facilities were for that sport across the country.  Lastly, we looked at which facilities also had a strong local sports commission or convention and visitor bureau that could support the new events.  By comparing all these data points we were able to show what destinations would likely have a good turnout and could generate local support as well.


  • Competition – We use data on a daily basis to help the destinations we serve determine who their competition set is, both regionally and nationally.  We compare facility inventory, accessibility, staff and budget size, organizational structure, hotels and restaurants, attractions, the number of events they are hosting annually, along with numerous other benchmarks.  Many of the destinations we work with know what their meetings and conventions competitive set is but don’t have a good handle on who their competition is for the sports market.  Often times we find that who they think their chief competitors are doesn’t match up with what we find when we dive into the data.


We can honestly say that over the past 5-6 years, our company has evolved into a data and benchmarking focused group more so than your basic consultancy.  Data isn’t always perfect, however it gives you great direction when trying to sort out what your next steps should be for any planning process.

Gather data, lean into it, use it as a roadmap for success.

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