Tourism Expert Touts Sports, Ecotourism Promotion

By  //  October 24, 2013

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TDC HEARS RESULTS OF TOURISM SURVEY

ABOVE VIDEO: Rusty Buchanan has attracted major sporting events to Brevard County for the past 25 years, and in this above video, Buchanan interviews officials from the Junior Olympic games.

BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – The Space Coast Office of Tourism (TDC) held their monthly meeting at the Brevard County government center yesterday and Randall Marketing Group made an informative presentation, as did the Brevard Historical Society. 

The Space Coast Office of Tourism held their monthly meeting at the Brevard County government center yesterday and Randall Marketing Group made an informative presentation, as did the Brevard Historical Society. (SpaceCoastDaily.com image)

The Space Coast Office of Tourism held their monthly meeting at the Brevard County government center yesterday. (SpaceCoastDaily.com image)

TDC members also unanimously supported the continuing effort to protect the Indian River Lagoon.

Judy Randall

Judy Randall

“We all agree it is a legislative priority to work on the lagoon and we must all remind our county commissioners are important the lagoon is to all of us,” said TDC member Laurilee Thompson.

Tourism consultant Judy Randall, President and CEO of Randall Travel Marketing, delivered a detailed two hour presentation of the results of her company’s surveying more than 500 visitors to the Space Coast.

Randall, along with Dr. Larry Gustke, authored the annual Top Ten Trends In Travel and Tourism, which is used internationally by travel and tourism marketing organizations. Her writings and reports on travel and tourism marketing and promotion are well known throughout the industry.

ECOTOURISM, SPORTS TOURISM HIGH PRIOROTIES

High on Randall’s recommendations to tourism officials were ecotourism, attracting upscale dining and shops, and continuing the focus on sports tourism.

RUSTY-BUCHANAN-388-1“We are excited that the Randall Tourism Study supported our thoughts that sports is a key component in our county’s tourism mix as sports groups represents 6 percent of the county’s total tourism business,” said Rusty Buchanan, President and Director of Space Coast Sports Promotions and Vice President of the Amateur Athletic Union.

“This shows that our sports program more than pays for itself through the tourism tax that it generates, and we are pleased that the study showed that sports ranked so highly with performance satisfaction with our visiting sports teams.

“It is very important that we continue to improve and grow our sports programs and continue to go after it. The revenue generated for the county from sports is trackable and the Randall Study also showed that sports has one of the highest returns on our investment.”

“It is very important that we continue to improve and grow our sports programs and continue to go after it.  The revenue generated for the county from sports  is trackable and the Randall Study also showed that sports has one of the highest returns on our investment.”

Buchanan is doing what he has done for the past 25 years – filling Brevard’s hotel rooms with thousands of players, coaches and family members from visiting youth sports teams from across the USA.

“We are still having a lot of success in attracting sports events to Brevard,” said Buchanan.

“Thanks to the wonderful facilities that the county has built, and with the school board and cities help, we can continue to grow the business of youth and amateur sports in Brevard County.”

SPORTS PROVIDES MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN DIRECT ECONOMIC IMPACT

For example, Buchanan’s company, Space Coast Sports Promotions Inc., last summer hosted over just a two week period a girls fast pitch softball tournament, which generated over 4,000 room nights, and then hosted the AAU Boys Basketball 5th Grade National Championships that brought more than 7,000 room nights to local hoteliers.

The Florida Storm Softball Club Showcase generated an economic impact in excess of $5 million for Brevard County. (SpaceCoastDaily.com image)

The Florida Storm Softball Club Showcase generated an economic impact in excess of $5 million for Brevard County. (SpaceCoastDaily.com image)

Just these two Buchanan-hosted and produced events attracted 170 teams to the Space Coast.

Between players, coaches and spectators, more than 7,000 people traveled to the Space Coast to play amateur sports. These events alone generated close to $4.5  million in direct economic impact for the community.

The softball event took place at Brevard County Parks and Recreation’s Chain of Lakes Park in Titusville.

“North Brevard Parks and Recreation does a great job with Chain of Lakes Park, and it’s a fantastic location to host softball events which allows us to continue to grow our youth sports events for Brevard,” said Buchanan.

COUNTY PARKS & REC, SCHOOLS AND CITIES PROVIDE KEY ASSIST

The AAU Basketball Championships took place at Viera High School, Eastern Florida State College, Satellite Beach High School, Bayside High School, Heritage High School, Bethany Christian School, Melbourne Central Catholic and Ascension Catholic School.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Rusty Buchanan, President of Space Coast Sports Promotions; Jim Hickey Principal of Viera High School; and Gary Shiffrin, Principal of Merritt island High School. (SpaceCoastDaily image)

LEFT TO RIGHT: Rusty Buchanan, President of Space Coast Sports Promotions; Jim Hickey Principal of Viera High School; and Gary Shiffrin, Principal of Merritt island High School. (SpaceCoastDaily image)

“Our Brevard County schools and local colleges are great to work with in setting up the gyms for our visiting teams,” said Buchanan.

“As the saying goes, ‘It Takes A Village,’ and our Space Coast village helps us make it happen,” said Connie Alden, who is a long-time director with Buchanan’s Space Coast Sports Promotions.

YEAR ROUND SPORTS EVENTS FOR THE SPACE COAST

In June, the USSSA Boys’ Basketball Grade School State Championships took place in Central and South Brevard.

Last summer, Buchanan was also able to attract several new events to Brevard. The National Softball Association brought their NSA Eastern Regional, as well as their NSA B States event. The Sunshine State Games Track and Field Championships were held at Melbourne Central Catholic High School, where over 250 participants stayed in Brevard from all over the state of Florida.

“We had over 100 teams from across the state to participate in this tournament,” said Buchanan. “The Brevard Bulls was the host organization for this event, which was played in 15 gyms around the county.”

Space-coast-sports-promotions-150Last summer, Buchanan was also able to attract several new events to Brevard. The National Softball Association brought their NSA Eastern Regional, as well as their NSA B States event. The Sunshine State Games Track & Field Championships were held at Melbourne Central Catholic High School, where over 250 participants stayed in Brevard from all over Florida.

This Fall, Buchanan and his team are hosting several more events in Brevard with organizations like the USSSA, ASA, NSA, this weekend’s Beach Running Championships and the National Chiropractic Games. All of these events mean a big boost in business for area hotels, restaurants, retail establishments and more.

SPRING TRAINING FOR COLLEGES AND HIGH SCHOOLS

Buchanan’s company also helps to facilitate over 120 college and high school baseball and softball teams every spring that visit the Space Coast for their version of spring training.

“The good thing about those teams is that they stay for an average of five nights and they bring a lot of family members with them, who also stay and enjoy Brevard,” said Buchanan.

The International Palms Hotel in Cocoa Beach and many other hotels across Brevard make visiting sports teams feel at home (image for Space Coast Daily)

The International Palms Hotel in Cocoa Beach and many other hotels across Brevard make visiting sports teams feel at home. (Image for Space Coast Daily)

“Rusty and his team do a tremendous job in bringing in sports teams to our property,” said Julie Korountchev,  sales manager for the International Palms Resort in Cocoa Beach.

“They always produce, and our high school and college teams in the spring are one of the most important pieces of business that we have.”

Restauranteur Nik Cervos, owner of Florida’s Seafood Grill in Cocoa Beach, echoed that sentiment.

“We get a lot of business from the sports teams and they are great customers,” said Cervos.

Titusville’s and Melbourne’s Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, also sees a great positive impact from sports.

“The colleges and high school teams that we host here in Titusville and in Melbourne for spring training are very important for our economy,” said Nancy Evans, director of sales.

“We really appreciate that business as they have longer stays and have lots of extra people with them who also stay and use our local restaurants.”

BUCHANAN IS SPACE COAST SPORTS PIONEER

Buchanan has a plethora of experience in youth sports, and as Vice President of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), he has been involved in many facets of the AAU for over 25 years.

Rusty Buchanan has a plethora of experience in youth sports and as Vice President of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), he has been involved in many facets of the AAU for over 25 years.

Rusty Buchanan has a plethora of experience in youth sports, and as Vice President of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), he has been involved in many facets of the AAU for over 25 years.

He first became involved in the AAU in 1975 as an athlete and later served in many roles on both sport and legislative committees.

Since 1980, as executive director of one of the first ever sports commissions in Florida — Space Coast Sports Promotions, Buchanan has actively managed, operated and/or promoted a variety of sporting events throughout the Brevard County area.

Some of these events include the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games, Amateur Athletic Union National Championships for Boys, Girls, Mens, Womens Basketball, Baseball and Surfing. Other events include the Special Olympics, Florida Firefighter Games, International Law Enforcement Games, Space Coast Retired Military Golf Classic, and many more.

ABOVE VIDEO: Since 1990 Space Coast Sports Promotions has actively managed, operated and/or promoted a vast array of sporting events throughout the Brevard County area including the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games, Amateur Athletic Union National Championships for Boys, Girls, Mens, Women’s Basketball, Baseball and Surfing. Other events include the Special Olympics, Florida Firefighter Games, International Law Enforcement Games, Space Coast Retired Military Golf Classic, and many more.

$60 MILLION ECONOMIC IMPACT FOR BREVARD

Buchanan has generated an economic impact in excess of $60 million on the Space Coast, including the XXVIII AAU Junior Olympic Games, the largest national multi-sports amateur athletic competition in America.

“The AAU National Championship is a very prestigious event for our community to host. The visibility that the event offers the Space Coast nationally, as well as the financial impact it brings with it are both huge reasons why we are hosting the event again for the 20th straight year. Every time additional new facilities are brought online, we have an opportunity to bring more sports business into Brevard.”

Space Coast Sports is responsible for hosting one of the largest amateur athletic events in the history of amateur games – the 1994 Junior Olympic Games that featured more than 10,000 athletes.

“Through our network of almost 40 contracted hotels, four chambers of commerce, a database of volunteers and a professional management staff, our organization expertise is a huge advantage to any sports entity,” said Buchanan.

“Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism is also a huge part of making these events happen,” said Buchanan.

TDC-250-1“Without the TDC’s continued support, these events would not be coming to Brevard. Also, our super hotel partners do an incredible job to make the teams feel so at home while they are visiting the Space Coast. Among our key sponsors are Bright House Networks, Wet ‘n Wild waterpark, Universal Studios, Beef’ O’Brady’s, Savings Safari and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

“The AAU National Championship is a very prestigious event for our community to host.  The visibility that the event offers the Space Coast nationally, as well as the financial impact it brings with it are both huge reasons why we are hosting the event again for the 20th straight year. Every time additional new facilities are brought online, we have an opportunity to bring more sports business into Brevard.”

CLICK HERE to see the story about Rusty Buchanan’s election as Vice President of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), the largest amateur sports organization in the world.


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