Working out the logistics for a large-scaled sports competition at a convention center can be a challenge. We asked convention center and tourism industry professionals for tips to help your event be successful 

1. Call On Local Expertise

When it comes to bringing an event to a destination you might not know like the back of your hand, you should look to local connections, officials said.

One of the most logical local connections is the convention center’s event manager, said Marissa Skibbe Dionne, director of marketing for the MassMutual Center in Springfeld, Mass., which hosts sports events that draw about 200,000 athletes and spectators each year.

These professionals can help secure equipment and other large items needed to host an event, which can save money. An event manager has local contacts with universities, venues and other organizations to help acquire equipment that “could lower costs for the sports planner,” Dionne said.

Volunteer support from someone in your host community might also be necessary, like it is for the Pacific Amateur Athletic Union and Jam On It basketball camps, said Matt Williams, organizer.

2. Need A Room Block? There’s An Expert For That

Dionne recommended that sports event planners work with the local convention and visitors bureau (CVB) or sports commission to secure room blocks for an event. “Most CVBs are set up to support that time-consuming element of an event and do it at no extra cost to the planner,” Dionne said.

3. Get Ideas For Free-Time Activities
Because there can be a lot of down time for the athletes during tournaments, it’s important for organizers to promote nearby free-time activities to participants. Your local connections at the CVB, sports com- mission or event venue can help identify them, said Ben Rose, director of marketing and public relations for the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority in New Jersey.

“That’s why the Wildwoods Convention Center is such a sought-after facility with sports promoters. There is so much to see and do outside our doors,” Rose said, adding the center is near a 38-block boardwalk with three amusement piers, three beachfront waterparks, game arcades, shops and more than 300 eateries.

4. Get A Trainer On Board

Phil Campbell of the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., said tournament organizers who do not bring their own athletic trainers should also ask for help coordinating the hiring of local trainers for athletic injuries and treatments.

5. Coordinate Event Times & Keep Good Records
Tammy Dunn, sports development manager for the Snohomish County Sport Com- mission in Washington, said coordinating the hours the facility needs to be available is critical. You don’t want organizers to show up at 7 a.m. to find the doors still locked when the frst game starts at 8 a.m., she said.