Buddy Up

“The substantial investment of millions of dollars over the past decade in athletic fields, indoor and outdoor facilities, specialized equipment, and trained staff to operate and manage all of this was the true Field of Dreams concept of ‘If you build it, they will come,’” Grimes says.

“For many years and even today, our traditional youth-sports programs compete on the best turf and courts in our state. Yet we continue to enhance our infrastructure offering to secure events and competitions that build our year-round economy.

“For every team that comes to the Alabama Gulf Coast, we know in each city and through our sports commission that there is a direct return on that investment.

“Having seen the impacts firsthand in our community with soccer national championships, youth baseball World Series, offshore powerboat-racing to every fishing competition possible, our businesses and our local governments know the importance of partnering to build and maintain the facilities necessary to compete.

“Being a coastal resort community during the summer months is our primary tourist economy, but we have shown tremendous success as a region by partnering to attract those off-peak events and competitions which fill the hotels and condos, sell some retail and food while providing a clean, safe environment for families to enjoy.”

Along the same lines, Grant Brown, director of parks and recreational cultural affairs for the City of Gulf Shores, also sees the value of this partnership with the sports commission.

“The opportunity to further diversify our main tourism economy by offering high-quality sporting venues along with our world-class beaches and resort-style accommodations, make our support of the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission a natural partnership,” Brown says.

“Working closely with our neighboring communities, we are attracting numerous events, bringing athletes and their families for a combined competition and vacation. Who wouldn’t want to host their event along Alabama’s sugar-white sandy coast?”

Sponsors

The partnerships of local businesses and GSOBSC annual sponsors play a significant role in the daily operations of the sports commission.

Sporting events draw participants to the area’s resorts. Photo courtesy of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission

“We have found in-kind services to be a tremendously beneficial result of our sponsorship program,” Gendler says.

“By providing meals in hospitality tents or rooms for site visits, these budget-relieving items allow us to use previously allocated funds to enhance the event and take it to the next level.

“With this pool of in-kind resources, our partnerships allow us to have the confidence to continue to push the limit and recruit more events, knowing that we have the resources to fulfill their needs.”

“Our partnership with the sports commission is a profitable investment for Brett-Robinson Vacation rentals on many levels,” says Marie Curren, director of marketing and reservation.

“The commission has successfully ‘grown the pie’ of tourism for the area, and as a sponsor, we have the privilege of hosting thousands of guests who may never have been aware of our beautiful area without them.

“Many sports participants return to our rental properties with their entire family for a great family vacation. Many sporting events take place in spring and fall, and this has truly helped extend the season for our company.

“After six years of partnership, our occupancy continues to grow during each sporting season, and we anticipate that each year to come will provide the same positive results.”

Events

“It goes without saying that relationship-building with event directors and owners is vital to our success,” Gendler says. “However, we approach these opportunities as ways to enhance already strong partnerships.”

Terri McCormick, the head softball coach at the University of Mobile, has worked with the sports commission to produce over nine events in the last four years, including the 2011 NAIA Women’s Softball Championship.

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