From left to right: Chuck Martin (Executive Director of MTC), Beth Mead (President
of MTC and Sales and Marketing Manager for Columbia CVB), John Callahan (Owner
of Callahan Pickleball Academy), and Lagina Fitzpatrick, CMP, CHSC (Director of Sales
at Lake of the Ozarks CVB)
On March 25-27, 2019, Missouri Meetings & Events was able to sponsor the Missouri Sports Travel Exchange –
Missouri Travel Council (MTC)’s first-time Missouri event. The event was held at the Ameristar Casino Resort in Saint Charles, Missouri, and brought “sport event organizers and right holders from across the Midwest as well as sports tourism representatives from the entire state for two nights/three days of one-on-one appointments, education and networking”, as had been announced on MTC’s website before the event.
Missouri Destination staff got to meet representatives from different sports organizations, such as USA Game Day.
“With sports event planners at the table representing basketball, softball, baseball, airsoft, soccer, pickleball, fishing, egaming and rugby events, we were able to lay a strong foundation for the future of this event,” noted Chuck Martin, Executive Director, Missouri Travel Council. “Planning has already begun for the 2020 event which will be held March 9th through the 11th at Chateau on the Lake in Branson. We’re expecting strong growth in the number of participating planners and suppliers, along with even greater diversity in the types of sport events that planners are seeking locations for.”
Most people don’t know much about pickleball and that it’s the fastest growing sport in America, with National Championships and 6,885 places to play as of January 2018, according to the USA Pickleball Association’s website.
The USAPA has seen an increase in membership of 650% since 2013. John Callahan, owner of Callahan Pickleball Academy, had a great experience at the event: “The reason I attended the sports travel exchange was to help me and my event planner – Meet Event Services – plan for tournament locations and this is a great opportunity to meet the destinations that could host such competitive events in the future.”
“I’m very glad we attended the inaugural exchange”, said Joe Clote, owner of Meet Event Services. “It was extremely informative and a great networking opportunity; we’ll be back next year.”