NASC Announces Annual Award Winners

KNOXVILLE (May 10, 2019) – The National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC), the governing body of the $11.4 billion sport tourism industry, announced this week a new brand designed to represent a more inclusive organization to lead the sports and event tourism industry and its membership. The organization will now be referred to as Sports Events & Tourism Association or Sports ETA.

Additionally, Sports ETA honored members and their organizations for outstanding work in the industry with the following awards:

  • Sports Commission of the Year, Population Over 500,000 population: Sports Minneapolis, Powered by Meet Minneapolis
    • In 2018, Sports Minneapolis hosted major U.S. sporting events including the Super Bowl, X Games, NCAA Championships and the NASC Symposium.
  • Sports Commission of the Year, Population Under 500,000 population: Spokane Sports Commission
    • Spokane Sports Commission supported 58 events last year which resulted in nearly $60 million in direct economic impact back to their city, hosting rights holders such as USA Weightlifting, USA Track & Field as well as World Taekwondo.
  • Game Changer Award: Michelle Russ, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission
    • Michelle Russ has helped secure 155 events which has resulted in more than 110,000 room nights and $118 million in economic impact for the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Sports Commission. 
  • Destination Branding & Marketing Campaign of the Year: Rockford Area CVB
    • Rockford Area CVB launched a new marketing campaign called “Bring Your Game 2 Rockford (BYG2RKFD),” a comprehensive program that highlighted their facilities and athletes as well as the business community that make their community a successful sports destination.
  • Event Marketing Campaign of the Year: Savannah Sports Council
    • The Savannah Sports Council used a new approach to marketing their 2018 Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run using digital and social media which greatly exceeded their goals to increase participation and revenue by 17% and 37% respectively.
  • Superior Service Award: TSE Consulting
    • In selecting TSE Consulting, the judges noted: TSE Consulting is always striving to improve the Sports Event Industry every day. Their commitment and dedication to grow this industry is second to none. Their tagline is “Delivering Strategy, Generating Success” and that is exactly what happens.
  • Sports Tourism Organization of the Year, Over 500,000 population: Visit Anaheim
    • In selecting Visit Anaheim, the judges noted: The quality and quantity of sporting events were in alignment with their organization’s mission. They went above and beyond the ordinary requirements and that is seen in events returning to their city.
  • Sports Tourism Organization of the Year, Under 500,000 population: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports
    • In selecting Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports, the judges noted: The work they have done to bring in great events, both large and small, has had a tremendous impact on the community. It is clear they are doing big things in their community.
  • Sports Tourism Executive of the Year: George Linley, Palm Beach Sports Commission
    • Under the leadership of Linley, the Palm Beach Sports Commission enjoyed another record breaking year as he and the team exceeded all seven of its Performance Measures including generating room nights, the submission of 60+ event bids, organized more than 35 site visits, provided funding to 120+ sports events, hosted more than 175 sports events, attracted 18 events that generated national and/or international TV coverage, and generated 35,000+ room nights from new events.  
  • Locally Created Event of the Year Under 500,000: Rock Hill/York County
    • Rock Hill, SC took on an ambitious project: producing a nationally-recognized high school basketball showcase. The event sold out with over 2,600 in attendance, attracted 20 college coaches, and had two nationally-ranked teams compete.
  • Locally Created Event of the Year Over 500,000: Louisville Sports Commission
    • The Louisville Sports Commission is a true pioneer in the sport tourism industry. The Urban Bourbon Half Marathon is an experiential, destination event geared toward attracting visitors to Louisville.

The 28th annual NASC Symposium will be held April 20-23, 2020 in Kansas City hosted by Visit KC and Kansas City Sports Commission. Future host cities include: Birmingham, Alabama in 2021 and Fort Worth, Texas in 2022.


About the Sports Events & Tourism Association

As the only trade association for the sport tourism industry, the Sports Events & Tourism Association, formerly known as the National Association of Sports Commissions, is the most trusted resource for sports commissions, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), and sports event owners. Sports ETA is committed to the success of more than 700 member organizations and 2,000 sports event professionals. For more information, visit