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Matt Kearny | Sports Council busy preparing for 2014

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It’s always interesting to take a behind the scenes look at what goes into organizing large events or tournaments.

Last week, the Wenatchee Valley Sports Council hosted Drew Reiners and Jason Jordan of Triple Crown Sports, a business based out of Fort Collins, Colo. Triple Crown is in the business of conducting sports tournaments, including a youth baseball tourney that will be in the valley for its fifth year in April. This visit, some six months before the actual event, was important on several fronts, with cementing relationships and getting contracts lined up among the key goals.

This tourney brings some 100-plus teams into the Wenatchee Valley each spring, making it our second largest sports event of the year, only behind the Winter Special Olympics. Our agenda last week included meetings with the key hotel partners in the area, obviously a critical component to the success of the tournament. There are several levels involved in the agreements between Triple Crown and each hotel, depending, as an example, on the size of room blocks that the properties set aside for the event.

As for the tournament itself, about 20 fields will host more than 200 games, so obviously a lot of planning is needed well in advance. We set up meetings with each school district, including Wenatchee Valley College, youth baseball organizations (Morris Little League Park, for example), Parks and Recreation departments, Chelan County PUD Recreation (Walla Walla Point and Kirby Billingsley hydro parks) and other entities. Details on schedules, field maintenance, lights, concessions and the contracts to cover those items are discussed.

Then there’s the matter of the opening ceremonies the night before play begins. We met with Town Toyota Center and Wenatchee Wild management to cover contingency plans, with scenarios that include a possible Wild playoff game that night, to no events at all, where we will create activities and things to keep the attention of several hundred kids. Last year was a home run, when a Wild playoff game that night resulted in more than 800 tickets being purchased by Triple Crown players and accompaniment. Teams were treated to the game, a raffle with items donated by area businesses, and being paraded on ice with scoreboard recognition during intermission. It was an experience to remember for the teams and one that will be tough to match, but try we will.

Back to the visit. Whether it was the field managers, school athletic directors, hoteliers, sports and rec organizations or facilities management, our meetings last week were all productive and met with a willingness to cooperate that impressed our Triple Crown visitors. It was a long list to accomplish in just a couple of days, but well worth it when you consider that about a half-million dollars in sports tourism spending occurs tournament weekend. Plus, a lot of teams bring an entourage of parents and friends that are being exposed to the Wenatchee Valley for the first time, surely creating a residual effect of future vacation visits.

By the way, while sports tourism is big business, it’s important to not lose sight of the fact that a minimum of 1,300 boys ages 9-14 get a chance to play ball right here in our back yard at a time of year they are hard-pressed to find weather and field conditions anywhere that make it possible. That’s what really makes it all worth it.

The Wenatchee Valley Sports Council is a partner of the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, assisting with destination marketing. For more Sports Council related information, please contact Matt at the Chamber offices: 662-2116 or matt@wenatchee.org.

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