Sports scores for visitor’s bureau

Marketing hopes to attract tournaments.

“If we don’t do it now, we are going to get left in the dust, so to speak, so we need to be venturing more into the sports category,” Diana Thompson, the bureau’s executive director told the county commissioners during a recent meeting.

As part of that effort, a representative of the National Association of Sports Commissions will visit the county in late April for meetings with government and sports leaders, among others, to discuss possibilities for activities.

“We will talk about what he can do for us, what we can do,” Thompson said.

One plus of sports-related activities/events being held in the community is the higher visibility than some tourism-related activities in the past such as stops in communities by motor coach tours, she said.

“When you have a sports organization coming in for a big tournament, it is a lot more visible to the entire community,” she said. “I think we are ready to go. … It is exciting.”

The sports marketing was just one aspect of Thompson’s report to the commission.

The bureau is the recipient of the proceeds of the county’s 3 percent lodging tax, which set another record in 2015.

The tax that makes up the majority of the bureau’s income, brought in $419,728 last year, up from $412,727 the previous year. The bureau’s total revenues were $430,415, up from $421,708 in 2014.

The bureau last year spent $438,496, including around $37,000 in projects that were not included in the annual budget, Thompson said. Most of the added work, approved by the bureau board, involved projects with companies hired to videotape county highlights and specific attractions.

The taping included a contract with a company to produce footage of the county and its attractions as seen from a drone. Those images were used in a 30-second commercial and a four-minute video about visiting the county.

Commissioner Jack Evans said the drone project was impressive. “It was money well spent,” he said.

Other videos the bureau contracted were for the villages of Covington and West Milton and attractions including WACO, the county fair and Hobart Arena.

“I like hearing the fact that you are not concentrating on our three cities, but also going out to our villages and assisting them any way we can. I think that is important,” Commissioner John “Bud” O’Brien said.

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