October 22, 2013
Executives who hold sway over where their lucrative sports events and national championships are held will get an up-close look at Columbus when their group meets here in June.
The Greater Columbus Sports Commission said yesterday it will host one of the biannual national meetings of the Association of Chief Executives for Sport.
Known as ACES, the Colorado Springs-based trade association is composed of the chief executives of the governing bodies of all 47 Olympic sports, such as USA Gymnastics and USA Swimming, as well as 13 non-Olympic sports, such as the U.S. Bowling Congress and USA Climbing.
“Linda (Logan) has been pursuing us for years and is very well recognized in the sports community,” said Stephen Ducoff, CEO of ACES.
Logan is executive director of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission and said the ACES meeting, while small, is influential and provides a chance to showcase the city to decision-makers. The hope is that some of the associations will bring national-championship events, athletes and fans here.
“Many times we struggle with a lack of an image when we try and tell the Columbus story nationally,” Logan said. “To have the CEOs of the largest sports groups in our city and the chance to show them what we have to offer — and not just tell them — is a great opportunity.”
The sports commission has been on a hot streak in recent weeks.
The group recently announced it will host USA Volleyball’s Boys’ Junior National Championships and USA Fencing’s national championships in 2014.
It recently bid on 30 NCAA national championships and will submit a bid by Dec. 6 to host the NCAA women’s basketball Final Four once during the 2017-to-2020 cycle. Columbus made it onto the short list in 2008 for the 2012-to-2016 cycle.
ACES holds two meetings a year, with recent ones in Minneapolis, Oklahoma City and Phoenix.
“I always talk to them after and ask if they got a return on their investment,” Ducoff said of the sports commissions that host the meetings. “And they say ‘Absolutely.’”
Columbus is starting to become a bigger player, he added, crediting Logan and her staff.
“In many of the cities, the people running these (sports commissions and convention and visitors bureaus) change all the time,” he said. “You do a deal with someone today and by the time you get there for your event, they’re gone. Columbus is known for their consistency and for delivering what they promise.”
The Greater Columbus Sports Commission will plan visits and informational meetings for the ACES executives, highlighting the city’s improved Downtown hotel offerings, Nationwide Arena and the facilities at Ohio State University.
“We’ll have site visits for the group and we can also customize the visit for a specific sport,” Logan said.
Sports such as ice skating, gymnastics and swimming are obvious candidates to hold events here, she said.
“But I think there’s something for everyone here, and it’s up to us to do our homework and connect with the leadership of all these different sports,” Logan said.