Bill Gieseking, Director of Marketing and also sports commission chairman for The Tampa Bay Sports Commission was mentioned in an article by The Tampa Bay Business Journal on Friday, January 13th 2012.
TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Sports Commission has launched a national marketing initiative to promote Bay area sports facilities. “Experience New Now” designed by advertising agency Schifino Lee aims to show how the facilities are undergoing renovations.
The goal is to convey the message to event organizers so they will choose the area for their events, whether these events are NCAA championships, high-school tournaments or youth and amateur events, said Rob Higgins, executive director of the sports commission. “In terms of attracting events to our community, we’re only as good as our places to play.”
Paola Schifino, principal with Schifino Lee; Rob Higgins, executive director, Tampa Bay Sports Commission; and Bill Gieseking, director of marketing, Pepin Distributing and sports commission chairman, at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The commission began discussions with a handful of local agencies late last year and chose Schifino Lee based on its “creative talents” and capacity to complete the work, Higgins said. He did not disclose financial terms of the contract, citing competitive reasons, the sports commission’s goal to stretch budget dollars and its status as an independent nonprofit not required to disclose the contract amount.
The three-phase campaign will be comprised of print ads in magazines, a website and a mobile website, social media and a creative mail piece, as well as a new logo.
The first phase, rolling out now with the sports commission’s appearance at the 2012 NCAA Convention this week and an advertorial in the Business Journal’s sister publication Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal next week, highlights the Forum.
A second phase, planned in April, will focus on USF. The third phase, expected in late summer, will focus on improvements at additional facilities such as Raymond James Stadium , Steinbrenner Field and the sports center at the University of Tampa .
Each phase will culminate with a familiarization trip. The first such trip is scheduled to coincide with the NCAA Frozen Four ice hockey championship tournament in April.
Although it will be difficult to quantify the exact results of the campaign, the sports commission expects an uptick in the number of events and hotel room nights in 2012.
The commission produced 114 sports events in 2011 that filled about 109,000 hotel room nights. In 2012, the number of hotel room nights is expected to swell to 120,000.
Joe Collier, president of Mainsail Lodging and Development, sees a two-fold benefit if the sports commission wins events through the campaign.
At Mainsail Suites Hotel & Conference Center , which offers apartment-style accommodations desirable to sports groups and families, amateur sports already account for about 15 to 20 percent of business overall, filling 10,000 to 15,000 hotel room nights a year.
A big event at the Forum, meanwhile, will fill up rooms downtown and lead guests further out.
“We may not get any of the direct business at our property, but because the rooms downtown fill up there’s some compression that goes out to everyone,” Collier said.
While each venue has a specific target audience, in general the campaign is geared toward league commissioners, athletic directors and other event organizers.
The campaign will not end with sports. It will promote Tampa’s overall “entertainment experience” including events such as the “human-powered flying competition” Red Bull Flugtag, said Sports Commission Chairman Bill Gieseking.
The campaign will highlight community amenities like Riverwalk as well as ancillary venues like Glazer Children’s Museum and the Tampa Bay History Center .
While the hockey games at the Forum will be at the center of the action at the Frozen Four in April, the event will extend beyond the venue, said Kristin Fasbender, associate director of championships and alliances for NCAA. It plans awards presentations and a student reception outside the Forum at locations yet to be announced.
When the NCAA selected Tampa in 2005, the Indianapolis-based organization took into account the availability of outside venues, the “walkability” of downtown and the proximity of Channelside.
In addition to local and school fans, the Frozen Four attracts a “core group” of about 8,000 to 9,000 fans who travel to the event regardless of where it’s held.
“The community will see an impact,” Fasbender said. “You will see fans in hockey sweaters all week.”