More than 70 sports tourism professionals turned out for the inaugural Sports Facilities Summit in Knoxville, Tennessee on earlier this month to kick start the annual NASC Symposium.  The full-day event marked an important step for the association as they broadened their reach directly into the sports facilities sector.

The event was orchestrated by a grassroots committee and hosted by Matt Libber, Executive Director of the Maryland Soccer Foundation and Maryland Soccer Plex. “I am extremely excited about the turnout and result of the first ever facility summit,” Libber said.  “We went into planning this event with the goal of (hosting) about 40 people and had over 70 register.  I believe the content presented was excellent and everyone in the room was able to walk away with learning something.  I look forward to holding the event again during the SportsETA 4S Summit this October in Rhode Island.”

Throughout the day, speakers covered topics such as administration, labor and culture, facility management, programming and business development and event operations. Speakers included William Knox, Director from the Grand Park (Indiana) Sports Campus; Mike Millay, former executive at Disney’s Wide World of Sports and current principle at Clancy’s Sports Properties, LLC; Michael Grade, VP of Sports Operations at the new Atlanta Sports City; Mike Guswiler, President at West Michigan Sports Commission and Ben Huffman, Direct of Sports Enterprises at Warren County CVB.

Presenters shared their business acumen and prior experience in the areas of operational best practices, field pricing, facility development and operating costs and tactical planning for successful operation of facilities in a competitive landscape. A strong emphasis was placed on event operations with conversations revolving around calculating return on investment, emergency action plans, event communication plans and sponsorship development.

“We feel the first facilities summit with the NASC conference was a huge success,” Knox said. “The presentations were great and the attendees provided good feedback as we plan for what the summit looks like in the future.”

During the event NASC announced that the summit is a precursor to a new sub-trade association to be developed and managed by the organization. The next meeting of facilities will take place at the 4S Summit in Providence, Rhode Island. For more information, visit