Congratulations Are in Order
May 23, 2013
Many of my friends in the sports-event industry don't reserve sports to just their day jobs. They are also proud parents who go from hosting and planning sporting events in the office to attending them to watch their children compete and oftentimes win. I love nothing more than to share their successes with all of you.
Visit Mesa President & CEO Marc Garcia is a perfect example. His son, Jackson "Jackie" Garcia, and his U-12 team are heading to Honolulu next month for the U.S. Youth Soccer West Regional Championships as part of the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series after becoming the Arizona State Cup Champions. The event is expected to draw more than 4,500 players and an estimated 15,000 spectators. Congratulations on a job
well done, Jackie!
A Great Day for Wrestling
May 20, 2013
The SportsTravel team and I were pleased to attend yesterday's United 4 Wrestling exhibition presented by USA Wrestling at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Sponsored by the Semnani Family Foundation and a combined effort from the Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling, Beat the Streets-LA, California USA Wrestling
and the Keep Olympic Wrestling campaign, the event featured wrestling matches ranging from youth girls and boys--including an exciting match between two 9-year-old female
USA wrestlers--to Olympic-winning men and women from the United States, Canada and Russia.
SportsTravel's Lisa Furfine, Nicole Goddeyne and Yvonne Garcia show their support for the sport of wrestling.
A red carpet event prior to the exhibition helped promote the sport of wrestling and advocated keeping the founding Olympic sport in the 2020 Olympics.
Lisa Furfine with founder of the Semnani Family Foundation Khosrow Semnani, title sponsor of the exhibition.
Famous faces supporting the event included actors Billy Baldwin and Tom Arnold, MMA
star Randy Couture and former New England Patriots three-time Super Bowl winner Stephen Neal.
Tom Arnold, Randy Couture, Billy Baldwin and Stephen Neal on the red carpet before the United 4 Wrestling exhibition.
SportsTravel's Nicole Goddeyne and Lisa Furfine with MMA star Randy Couture on United 4 Wrestling's red carpet.
SportsTravel's Nicole Goddeyne and Lisa Furfine with actor Billy Baldwin on United 4 Wrestling's red carpet.
We here are all very proud to support our friends at USA Wrestling in keeping the sport alive and in the 2020 Olympics! To show your support, go to KeepWrestlingInTheOlympics.com.
May 17, 2013
I just got back from a wonderful week in the state of Utah, which culminated with the
Utah Tourism Conference in St. George. SportsTravel Publisher Timothy Schneider gave a presentation along with Jeff Robbins, president and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission, on the "Power of Sports." There is a lot of optimism around the tourism industry in Utah, which boasts one of the strongest economies of any state in the nation.
During the conference, I was interviewed by the local CBS affiliate on the success of
Utah’s “The Mighty Five” advertising campaign that focuses on its five national parks: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion. It's an exciting campaign that highlights the incredible geographic features of one of the country's most unique states
Click here to see the clip from the news. You'll want to plan a pre- or post-TEAMS '13 visit to one of the Mighty Five yourself!
Congratulations to Bob Costas on Sports Emmy Win
May 9, 2013
I’m thrilled to congratulate my longtime friend and TEAMS alum Bob Costas on winning
his 25th career Emmy and fifth consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality at
the 34th Annual Sports Emmy Awards on May 7. No surprise to me!
Along with Bob’s win, NBC Sports Group has many reasons to celebrate—the network
won 11 Sports Emmy Awards: the London Olympics received five Emmys, including Outstanding Live Event Turnaround; Super Bowl XLVII won for Outstanding Live Sports Special; “Sunday Night Football” won its fifth consecutive award for Outstanding Live
Sports Series; Al Michaels won for Outstanding Sports Personality–Play-by-Play for his
work on “Sunday Night Football”; Cris Collinsworth was awarded his fifth consecutive
Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality–Sports Event Analyst; and Pierre McGuire, NBC Sports Group’s “Inside the Glass” analyst for its NHL coverage, was awarded his first
career Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality–Sports Reporter.
There are plenty of reasons to honor broadcasting excellence, and I am looking forward
to doing the same for sports events at our 11th Annual SportsTravel Awards at the
TEAMS Conference and Expo November 4–7 in Salt Lake City. Nominations are now being accepted at SportsTravelMagazine.com.
SportsTravel Associate Publisher Lisa Furfine and Emmy-winning
broadcaster Bob Costas at TEAMS 2008
A Wonderful Week on Marco Island
April 26, 2013
I enjoyed a great week on Florida’s Marco Island for DMAI’s strategic planning session and their annual CEO Forum. It is my honor to serve on the DMAI Board of Directors, which allows me to gain a deeper understanding of the concerns and needs of our convention bureau counterparts. DMAI works hard to meet those needs and does a great job of involving its volunteer leadership.
Meeting in such a beautiful destination also provides for a memorable travel experience. SportsTravel Publisher Tim Schneider and I had the opportunity to sample the hospitality “product” marketed by our dear friend Jack Wert, head of the Collier County CVB (which includes Naples and Marco Island). Jack was an early supporter of SportsTravel and the TEAMS Conference, and we sincerely appreciate the long-term relationship we’ve had with him and so many of the other attendees.
Left to right: SportsTravel Associate Publisher Lisa Furfine, DMAI Executive Vice-President Vic Isley, Monterey County CVB President Tammy Blount, Cabarrus County CVB President
Donna Carpenter, Providence Warwick CVB President Martha Sheridan, Visit Spokane President Cheryl Kilday and St. Paul CVB President Karolyn Kirchgesler
Remembering Pat Summerall
April 17, 2013
The sports world lost a true icon this week with the passing of legendary broadcaster Pat Summerall, a member of both the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association
Hall of Fame and American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame. Many will remember
him for his signature voice and understated style. His career highlights include calling 16 Super Bowls, 27 Masters golf tournaments and 20 U.S. Open tennis tournaments. And
few will forget his 22-year broadcast partnership with John Madden that provided
commentary for some of the NFL’s greatest moments.
My fondest memory of Pat took place during the Texas Travel Industry Association’s
annual meeting in 2002. The theme of that year's conference was sports. Pat, along
with Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, then-Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith,
SportsTravel Publisher Tim Schneider and myself were all on the program. Ironically,
it was the next morning that Jerry cut Emmitt loose from his 13-year career with the
Cowboys. Pat's elegance and insights were awe inspiring and something I'll never forget.
As people who also work in sports media, we always strive to educate and empower with our work. Pat Summerall’s passion and love of all sports helped frame so many memories for fans of all ages. And for that, he will be missed.
The Travel Industry Goes to Washington
April 11, 2013
This week, more than 300 of your travel colleagues from across the country are traveling
to Washington for Destination: Capitol Hill to speak directly to lawmakers about issues that impact travel, including preserving Brand USA and building support for the reauthorization of the Travel Promotion Act. Also on the agenda is finding cosponsors for and ultimately passing the Jobs Originated Through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act (HR 1354). Even if you are unable to join us in Washington this week, you can still support the U.S. Travel Association's efforts by taking part in their virtual fly-in. Contact your policymakers and reinforce the message they will hear from your colleagues on Thursday.
- Email your legislators today and help us make the case for the value of travel.
- Follow Power of Travel on Twitter and use the hashtag #DCH13 to spread the message
that travel works for America.
- Take part in the Travel Blitz campaign and meet with your legislators back at home.
Help us build champions for travel.
Thank you for your support. With your help, we can make this an exceptional week for travel.
L-R: Kenneth Fischang, president & CEO of Sonoma County Tourism Bureau; Patti MacJennett, senior vice-president of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board; Lisa Furfine, associate publisher of SportsTravel; and Tammy Blount, president & CEO of Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau
United States Senator Dianne Feinstein and SportsTravel Associate Publisher Lisa Furfine
SportsTravel Awards Season Begins
April 5, 2013
Baseball season and awards season go together around our office. As the first step
in the annual SportsTravel Awards program, our readers are encouraged to nominate
events they believe are worthy of recognition as part of the leading awards program
in the sports-event industry.
Events at the amateur, collegiate and professional levels held between July 1, 2012,
and June 30, 2013, are eligible for nomination.
Readers are encouraged to use the following criteria in nominating an event, series
1) The organization of the event, series or circuit was superior.
2) The event, series or circuit provided a superior experience for the competitors
and/or the spectators.
3) The site(s) or venue(s) of the event, series or circuit enhanced the event, series
To nominate, please visit SportsTravelMagazine.com and click on the SportsTravel
Awards banner. While you’re there, you can also check out the many new features
of our newly redesigned website and bookmark it to stay on top of all the news
from the sports-event industry.
The deadline for nominating events is Sunday, June 30, at 5:00 p.m. PDT.
The final round of voting will begin in July and run through September 15. The awards
presentation is always a highlight of the TEAMS Conference. TEAMS ’13 will be
held November 4–7 in Salt Lake City.
Destination & Travel Foundation Dinner
March 18, 2013
It was truly a magical evening at the Destination & Travel Foundation Dinner, where Randy Garfield from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts accepted the Spirit of Hospitality Award.
Among the 850 attending the gala, I was lucky to catch up with a few fave clients and industry partners.
(L-R) Victoria Isley, COO of DMAI; Alison Best, president & CEO of Visit Oakland; Lisa Furfine, associate publisher of Schneider Publishing Company and TEAMS Show Manager; Scott Beck, president & CEO of Visit Salt Lake; Tammy Blount, president & CEO of
Monterey County CVB; and Martha Sheridan, president & CEO of Providence Warwick CVB at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
March 1, 2013
While everyone knows I'm a big proponent of physical activity, and Bruce Springsteen wrote one of my favorite songs, "Dancing in the Streets," perhaps the Harlem Shake is best not to take to the skies in lieu of safety. It is good to know however that Ultimate teams have budgets large enough for air travel! Check out the video here!
Wrestling Under Siege as an Olympic Sport
February 12, 2013
What was the IOC Executive Board thinking when they short-listed wrestling as a sport that might be eliminated from the Olympic Games beginning in 2020?
While the IOC's statement on the matter gave no details for why they might seek the elimination of one of the original sports in the Olympics, our friends at USA Wrestling wasted no time launching a defense of the sport. TEAMS alum and USA Wrestling
Executive Director Rich Bender released the following statement:
"USA Wrestling is surprised and disappointed about today’s announcement concerning the International Olympic Committee Executive Board recommendation that wrestling not be a core sport included in the 2020 Olympic Games. Wrestling is one of the sports of the original Greek Olympic Games and in the first modern Olympic Games. It is one of the most diverse sports in the world, with nearly 200 nations from all continents participating in wrestling. It is an inclusive sport which provides opportunities worldwide, regardless of geography, race, gender or physical characteristics.
We look forward to telling the story about wrestling to the International Committee leadership and the entire world about our great sport and why it should be part of the Olympic movement forever. USA Wrestling pledges to be a leader in the international effort to insure that wrestling remains on the Olympic program. As we continue our leadership in expanding wrestling within our nation, we also will place our full resources and energy behind supporting wrestling on the international level."
One of my fondest memories in sports was to serve as the manager of the boys wrestling team at Parkway East High School in St. Louis a few years back. If, like me, you'd like to see wrestling retained on the Olympic program in 2020 and beyond, please visit the
special Facebook page that USA Wrestling has launched at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Olympic-Wrestling/140684176096583.
February 4, 2013
I had the pleasure of returning to one of my favorite TEAMS host cities, New Orleans, to work and attend Super Bowl XLVII. In the days and hours leading up to the big game, my schedule was jam-packed, having to attend press conferences in the media center, meet with future host cities and visit several venues in and around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Here are a few highlights from the trip.
To open to her press conference on Thursday, Beyonce belted out a live rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” and upon finishing, asked the 1,000 members of the press if there were any questions. Beyonce went on to discuss her plans for her live performance planned for the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show.
Once cleared through security, all ticketholders are welcomed with a super-sized Vince Lombardi trophy as one of many backdrops to the Game Day Fan Plaza.
NFL On Location provides hospitality packages to individuals and corporations wanting a one-of-a-kind NFL experience. Those participating, were greeting by hundreds of “human arrows” or wayfinders, directing them to the appropriate hospitatlity venues for pre-game, and in some cases, post-game festivities.
At all of the NFL On Location venues fans got to get pictures and autographs with current and former NFL players. Here at the Square on LaSalle, one of the venues outside the Superdome, I got to meet Kyle Rudolph of the Minnesota Vikings.
While waiting to go to their seats, interactive games were set up for fans to test their skills punting, passing and kicking while enjoying concessions and New Orleans style music in Champions Plaza.
In the largest of NFL On Location venues, the Quarter on Bienville, suites were set-up providing personalized wait-service and private viewing. The Quarter on Bienville accommodated nearly 1,000 people.
In addition, each of the NFL On Location venues provided musical entertainment. In the Quarter on Bienville, New Orleans own Dirty Dozen Band performed.
And pictures and autographs with some of the New Orleans Saints cheerleaders.
Fans were allowed to enter the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as early as 1:30 PM to watch the player warm-ups and the excitement build towards kick-off.
Another of the NFL On Location venues, the Krewe XLVII Club, offered patrons a high-energy party atmosphere complete with DJ and dancing. Patrons of this venue and the Quarter on Bienville, enjoyed pre- and post-game hospitality and had the chance to go on field after the game.
And in true fashion, I am already back in the office today! Thoughts or questions on my Super Bowl experience? Feel free to email me at
A Proper Goodbye to Stan Musial
January 28, 2013
The passing of baseball great Stan Musial did not receive national coverage commensurate
with its importance, thanks in part to several athletes of a more recent vintage whose behavior is suited more to scandal sheets than the sports section. That made the eulogy
for Musial from my friend from St. Louis and TEAMS alum Bob Costas all the more poignant. If you haven't seen it, I encourage you to click the link below and to share it with your friends in the sports world.
It's flawless, heartfelt and brilliant. A great remembering a great.
Congratulations to the Cincinnati Reds!
January 23, 2013
A big congrats to my friends with the Cincinnati Reds for being awarded the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game for a fifth time! Couldn't have happened to better men, my pals Dusty Baker, manager of the Cincinnati Reds and Walt Jocketty, general manager. Looking forward to a successful Midsummer Classic at Great American Ball Park.
January 17, 2013
Check out the new TEAMS Conference video on YouTube by clicking here. It's fun to look back on all the excitement at TEAMS '12 in Detroit...including our attendee who kicked a near-perfect extra point at the same time his shoe sailed in for a two-point conversion at Ford Field. (You've got to watch closely!) I also love our animated logo promoting
TEAMS '13 in Salt Lake City. The Wasatch Mountains are certainly beckoning us back to "The State of Sport."
See you at Convening Leaders!
January 10, 2013
Hello there and happy new year to all! Today I'm headed to Orlando for PCMA's
Convening Leaders conference. Looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and
meeting some new ones! Stop and say hello if you see me around.
December 6, 2012
Early this week I headed up to Oakland as TEAMS alum & CEO of Visit Oakland Alison Best gave me a tour of Oakland's venues and attractions. Not only did we catch a Raiders/Browns game at O.co Coliseum and take a spin on a boat next to AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, we also caught up with Oakland's official spokesperson, MC Hammer! Check out the video to his Oakland Insider's Guide here.
Thanks again to Visit Oakland. To Know It Is To Love It!
Michele D'Agostino (International Distance Skateboard Association), Lisa Furfine, Alison Best and Kelly Hopkins (ConferenceDirect) at O.co Coliseum
Lisa Furfine and Alison Best with Oakland's official spokesperson MC Hammer
November 26, 2012
During my recent TEAMS '13 planning trip, I had the opportunity to tour the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's Center for Excellence in Park City, Utah. Led by Calum Clark, vice president of events, I learned the 85,000-square-foot building includes athletic facilities such as strength-training areas, a gymnasium, ski and snowboarding ramps, trampolines, a nutrition center and recovery/rehabilitation facilities. It also features educational areas for athletes, coaches and clubs such as a computer lab, multimedia rooms for performance analysis and equipment workshops and a full sport science lab. Here's a quick shot I took of an Olympian training on one of their world's largest trampolines:
See venues like these and more at TEAMS '13 in Salt Lake City. Register now by clicking here!
October 19, 2012
Congratulations to the Detroit Tigers for sweeping the New York Yankees and making it to the World Series! It was a historic feat, marking just the fifth time the Yankees have been swept in the playoffs throughout their more than 100-year history. We all know who my team is, but we're glad to see the Tigers heading to the Fall Classic.
It looks like the TEAMS Conference continues to be a good-luck charm for its host cities. The Steelers won the Super Bowl after Pittsburgh hosted TEAMS 2008, then after New Orleans hosted TEAMS 2009, the Saints marched to the Super Bowl. Now it appears Detroit is our latest host to benefit from the TEAMS Conference bump, with TEAMS '12 leaving behind some good vibrations in in the D!
TEAMS '13 is headed to Salt Lake City!
October 4, 2012
We are in the fortunate position to have many long-standing partners, and many of our former TEAMS host cities continue to sponsor the conference even though the show is no longer in their city. Many of them do so with the hope of hosting TEAMS again in the future. And that's a hope that should not go unrewarded. It gives me great pleasure that Salt Lake City, a prior host city that has sponsored faithfully ever since we first hosted the TEAMS Conference, has been selected to serve as our host again in 2013.