One way that cities can capitalize on hosting events is to host several at once. The concept of an Olympic and Paralympic sport series is one where NGBs can combine resources by hosting several of their championships in one location, adding overall prestige to the events and increasing community interest in a variety of sports.
NGB leaders spoke about developing a series concept and how your community can partner with them on future events during the TEAMS Conference & Expo/SportsLink Session “U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Sport Series: How NGBs Seek to Combine Events for Maximum Benefit.”
Tom Shephard, Shephard Consulting: Shephard is currently the chairman of USA Pentathlon Multisport and operates Shephard Consulting, an independent consulting firm. He was previously CEO of Festival Network, the oldest and largest producer of outdoor music festivals. Before that, Shephard was an EVP at Visa International, EVP of Millsport, a sports marketing agency, and also served as the Games director of the AAU Junior Olympics.
Virginia Sung, USA Table Tennis: Sung became the CEO of USA Table Tennis in May 2019. She currently serves as the president of the North American Table Tennis Union, vice president of the Pan American Table Tennis Federation, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Chief Executives for Sports. In August 2022, Sung was elected among her NGB colleagues to the USOPC Board of Directors, starting in January 2023.
Patrick Talty, Indiana Sports Corp: Talty was elected Indiana Sports Corp’s seventh president in July 2022. Prior to being elected president, Talty served as Indiana Sports Corp’s chief operating officer since October 2019. Before his time at Indiana Sports Corp, Talty served as the general manager of U.S. Bank Stadium and as senior vice president, live events for World Wrestling Entertainment.
Chris Turner, USOPC: Turner was named senior director of brand management for the USOPC in August of 2021. He works closely with the NGBs in the pursuit of new media and event opportunities designed to grow revenue and exposure. Prior to the USOPC, Turner spent 25 years at ESPN where he last held the position of vice president and general manager of the SEC Network.
What They Said
Shephard: “We’re starting something in 2023 called the Olympic and Paralympic Sports Series. When an NGB brings an event to a city, it brings huge numbers over the course of a week or weekend. Our goal is to bring Olympic sports to these cities and combine more than one sport in one city. For example, we can put table tennis and fencing in the same space, which is huge. We can also combine summer and winter sports in some instances. We want to match make facilities and events to maximize revenue. Once the host cities tell us which facilities are available and when they’re available, we then go back to the NGBs to see if there’s a fit. They can bring in new disciplines and try new things; there are a lot of possibilities.”
Sung: “When selecting destinations, we look for cities that can offer aggressive reduced rates for facilities and hotels, as well as volunteers and transportation, along with any accommodations that can enhance our participants’ experience, so they’ll want to come back again. We also look for a good team to work with — a team that is willing to explore potential opportunities with us and help with marketing, branding and ticketing. The athletes look for the participation experience, not just the facility, but distance between hotel and venues and accommodations. One of our goals, since table tennis is an Asian-centric sport, we’re trying to grow our sport so we want to bring it to places that aren’t hotbeds and try to grow the sport and reach new audiences.”
Talty: “When you band NGBs together it allows the community to do some special things that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do, like have a festival or activation zone. It’s very important for us as potential host cities to understand what your goals are as an NGB and then once we understand that we can react to that and start to build out our offering in the city to really address those goals. We love the idea of banding NGBs together because of the efficiencies and that it allows us to create some special moments. … Cities need to dream big about what they can offer as a host. Also, hosting NGB events can then lead to international events for these host cities. If you’re interested in international events, the NGBs can provide those pathways.”