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The Journey of a Youth Wrestling Tournament and the Impact on the Local Sport Tourism Industry SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism7/26/2009 1.

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Presentation on theme: "The Journey of a Youth Wrestling Tournament and the Impact on the Local Sport Tourism Industry SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism7/26/2009 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Journey of a Youth Wrestling Tournament and the Impact on the Local Sport Tourism Industry SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism7/26/2009 1

2 The Rhino eXtreme Wrestling Tournament started as one mans vision to increase competition and provide the best awards in the state. This vision grew in a few short years from concept to a nationally recognized event. This presentation will explore how this happened and the impact the tournament has had on the sports tourism industry in Fayetteville, NC. SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism 7/26/2009 2

3 Background Initial Execution Resulting Growth Impact In the Background Buy in and Expansion Tournament Impact Sports Tourism Impact Growth in the State The Future Lessons Learned & Acknowledgements 7/26/ SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism

4 A Short History SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism 7/26/ The Rhino Wrestling Club was founded by Chuck Smith Chuck Smith is one of the founders of Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) wrestling in the state of North Carolina He was responsible for starting most of the AAU clubs in the Cumberland County, NC area between Chuck Smith ran a successful annual traditional youth wrestling tournament sanctioned by North Carolina AAU Wrestling (NCAAUW) for several years The tournament title was The Rhino Wrestling Tournament The tournament was held in Jack Britt High School until 2004 and used 3 -5 mats In 2004, Chuck Smith handed the reins of the club to Marty Bartram, an assistant coach in his third year with the club

5 Chuck left Marty with a vision: You have to get belts, Marty. The kids love them and they deserve to get them. They wrestle their butts off and deserve the best we can get them. After two years of having tournaments weathered out and absorbing the resulting financial loss, in 2005 the club was in a position to host a tournament that awarded championship belts to its victors. 7/26/2009SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Tourism 5

6 SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism 7/26/ The first Rhino eXtreme was a single division (K-8 th Grade), 15 weight class tournament AAU required it be advertised as a not for everyone tournament due to the single age division 20 teams comprised of a total of approximately 180 wrestlers attended the first tournament The tournament was held at Jack Britt High School on three mats Rhino eXtreme Team Champions Scotland Wrestling Club

7 SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism 7/26/ In 2006 the tournament was expanded to three age divisions to include high school aged wrestlers and increase participation of elementary aged wrestlers Three age divisions resulted in a total of 50 weight classes The tournament was held on 5 mats and participation more than doubled, exceeding 420 participants The tournaments reputation drew its first major out of state team, the Virginia Thunder, who won the Rhino eXtreme team title

8 Financially the eXtreme was successful. While more than tripling the overhead in award costs, the gate, entry fees, concessions, and t-shirt sales made up the difference and the tournament made a profit. After only the second year of the tournament the tournament was growing out of its home gym and s were flying in from both in and out of state teams committing to coming in The decision was made to make the tournament an invitational as the facility could not accommodate more than 425 athletes without negatively affecting the tournaments execution. This was a tough decision to make. How do you decide which team is better when you have never seen the out of state team? The purpose of the tournament was to increase the level of competition for North Carolina wrestlers but yet the tournament director was faced with turning kids away. Too much success? SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism 7/26/2009 8

9 SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism 7/26/ From 2005 to 2006, the Rhino Wrestling Club head coach, Marty Bartram, had worked diligently to increase awareness of the Rhino eXtreme and the club. This included building a team web site, advertising through local media, increasing local sponsorship, and advertising on out of state wrestling web sites. Additionally, he had made contact with the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (FACVB) to discuss what the club, the tournament, and wrestling in general. Of concern to Coach Bartram was missed opportunities to host youth state championship series to other cities. In the Summer of 2005, Coach Bartram met with the CEO and the Sports Sales Manager of the FACVB. At the conclusion of the meeting the CEO agreed to take a deeper look at the situation and offered the FACVB sales staff as a conduit to facilitate coordination with hotels and facilities in order to help the club and begin to get a picture of the economic impact the tournament was having on the community.

10 In the Autumn of 2006, the FACVB contacted Coach Bartram. They were all in. Since the meeting the previous year, the FACVB recognized what successful event centers and coordinators were realizing across the nation. Wrestling is strong and growing and brings with it excellence for its residents and profit to service oriented industries. The FACVB rose to a challenge and worked with the Rhino Wrestling Club to develop a partnership with the Crown Coliseum complex. The FACVB made a commitment to initially purchase ten wrestling mats and prepare to purchase up to ten more. This purchase would help separate them from others as a wrestling destination. The Rhino Wrestling Club made a commitment to host a minimum of one tournament a year for the next five years in the coliseum complex, present NCAAUW and NC USA Wrestling (NCUSAW) the opportunity to host a state championship or regional championship every year for five years and to be an advocate for Fayetteville to be the host for every major wrestling event in the state. Within weeks of coordinating this partnership, opportunities, such as bidding for the University and FILA Cadet National Championships, began to present themselves; providing immediate validation to the financial commitment made by the FACVB. SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism 7/26/ All in…

11 SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism 7/26/ In January 2007, the Rhino eXtreme was held at the Crown Expo Center on 14 mats. The tournament drew 40 teams from 5 states. The 2008 eXtreme continued its growth expanding participants to ten states. The 2009 eXtreme included a simultaneous Rookie only tournament. This allowed clubs to bring their entire team to participant in the weekends events. Sponsorship grew tremendously and included awareness through a sponsors television commercials. These commercials were seen in Virginia and North Carolina

12 Its not just about wrestling SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism 7/26/ Since the 2007 eXtreme, wrestling events in Fayetteville have brought in an estimated 650 hotel room nights. In the wrestling season, two state championships, a national dual team event, and a regional dual team event were held in the Crown Center. Vendors at the eXtreme continue to exceed their previous years sales. Building from the successful investment in wrestling, the FACVB created the Fayetteville Sports Authority whose mission is to position the Fayetteville area as a tournament destination. The FACVB web page actively features sporting events as a tourist attraction and as a location for tournament directors to host their events.

13 SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism 7/26/ Greensboro, NC has been home to the Super 32 for several years. Preceding the eXtreme, this tournament started out in a high school gym as well and is now held in a coliseum complex The market for this tournament is high school wrestlers and elite middle school aged wrestlers This tournament caps participation at 1250 athletes in 14 weight classes and registration closes in approximately 24 hours after opening online. The Greensboro Visitors Bureau purchased over 12 mats last year to secure the tournament in their city and to win a bid for the North Carolina High School State Championships. Their investment resulted in being the host city for the 2010 North Carolina High School State Championships and the 2009 and 2010 NCUSAW Junior High State Championships

14 SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism 7/26/ The future is bright for the Rhino eXtreme. Due to the level of competition at the tournament, participation growth is expected to increase and then plateau. At what number the plateau will start is unknown, however, the tournament staff plans for this to occur in the next 3-5 years. For 2010, the tournament director of the eXtreme and the tournament director of Tulsa Nationals ( held in Oklahoma) both recognized the need to coordinate with each other so their tournament dates did not conflict. This clearly demonstrates the market for the eXtreme is increasing.

15 SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism 7/26/ The Rhino eXtreme is unique in ways other than its format and its awards. It is a national level event run by a club, the vast majority of regional and national youth tournaments are run by state associations not by individual clubs. This is due to the enormous financial risk involved in running the tournament. The overhead for the eXtreme is between $13,000 and $15,000 annually. A club that operates as a not-for-profit organization and has an all volunteer staff cannot go into a venture like this lightly. The Rhino eXtreme is club supported but all financial risk is assumed by the clubs sole proprietor. Taking a wrestling tournament out of the traditional format and facility means that the event must be treated like a business. In this case a service oriented business that acknowledges that the customer must come first or they will go elsewhere and tell their peers to come with them.

16 SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism 7/26/ Do not presume that a convention and visitors bureau has systems in place to track economic impact of events in their city. Each citys bureau is unique and while they may share similarities in staff duty titles and descriptions the sophistication that they operate at may be wide ranging. Do not presume that because you have agreed to have hotels be your official event hotels that they will be prepared to help you account for the number of room nights you have brought in. From a small club running tournaments in a high school gym to planning 8-14 mat events in 60,000+ square feet of uninterrupted space is not a journey made by chance. It takes partnership between a club, the visitors bureau and a coliseum complex that look for ways to achieve goals that are mutually beneficial. Each group has skills and areas of expertise that compliment each other and each must commit to using events to achieve shared goals.

17 SPMT607 B001 Sum 09 Assignment: Sport Tourism 7/26/


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