Renting a sports venue for an event can be a rewarding option, but careful consideration to the budget and needs of the group must be taken into account, said Mike Burns, vice president of convention sales for Destination Cleveland.
“It’s really cool to host an event at a place like FirstEnergy Stadium, but you have to look at the costs and the logistics,” he said. “It’s great to use the scoreboard, but that can be expensive. And you really have to fit the venue to the size of the group. For instance, we did a great event for a bank group at FirstEnergy where we brought in the mayor and did some fun things. This worked well for a large group, but for a group of 75, it wouldn’t have made sense.”
If planners are intent on taking a group of attendees to a game, knowing the team’s schedule and booking ahead are essential, he added.
Kim Sherlock, senior sales manager for the Cincinnati USA CVB, advises planners to use the CVB as a resource and liaison with sports venues.
“It’s often easier to go through the CVB—we know the contacts and the questions to ask,” she said. “We can help with transportation and parking. We can help arrange for a private suite or group ticketing. It’s especially essential with the Bengals as they are frequently sold out. We know who to call.”