July newsletter july 2013

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Wisconsin Sports Services: July Newsletter

Text of July newsletter july 2013



  • pg. 2

    bout two and a half years ago, I was

    recruited to be one of the guest

    speakers at the Wisconsin Parks and

    Recreation Association state conference in

    La Crosse, Wisconsin. I presented two

    sessions that day, Trends in Youth Sports

    and Learning to Live with Travel Teams.

    The basic topic of both presentations was

    how different youth sports are now versus

    the good old days of yesteryear. In the

    process of delivering those sessions, I

    discussed some of the current problems in

    the world of youth sports and how we have

    adapted to them in Minnesota. You see, not

    only am I the Executive Director of the

    newly formed Wisconsin Sports Services, I

    am also the co-founder and current

    Executive Director of the Minnesota Youth

    Athletic Services, which is a 501c3 nonprofit

    organization that began doing business in

    Minnesota in 1991. For me, this is dj vu

    all over again.

    Following both presentations, I was

    surrounded by Park and Rec professionals

    and all of them had the same message: We

    sure could use an organization like the

    MYAS in Wisconsin. I have heard that same

    sentiment from numerous western

    Wisconsin baseball, wrestling and

    basketball teams that make frequent trips

    across the border to participate in the

    leagues and tournaments offered by the

    MYAS. I had also heard that those same

    teams werent too keen on the idea of

    being from the Badger State and playing in

    the Gopher State Baseball League or

    Gopher State Basketball Tournaments.

    Frankly, I dont blame them! I was born and

    raised in Bloomington, Wisconsin, so I can

    totally understand why Wisconsin would

    want their very own organization to service

    their amateur sports. (How I ended up in

    Minnesota is still sort of a mystery to me

    and a much longer story than youd care to

    read, so well leave that for another time.)

    That WPRA conference was held in early

    November, the week before the 2010

    Minnesota deer opener. I spent the next

    three days in my tree stand, wondering if an

    organization like the MYAS could make it in

    Wisconsin. The following January, I met

    with the MYAS Board of Directors and

    secured their permission to start a

    feasibility study on the creation of a sister

    organization in Wisconsin.

    To make a long story short, over the next 18

    months we made 22 trips to Wisconsin,

    meeting with anyone and everyone who

    would talk youth sports with us, including a

    four-hour meeting with the WIAA staff. I

    wanted to get a feel for the youth sports



  • pg. 3

    environment in Wisconsin. I wanted to

    know what you had and what you didnt

    have. I wanted to know what you liked and

    what you didnt like. I wanted to know who

    the good guys were and who the bad

    guys were. I wanted to know who was in it

    for the kids and who was in it to fill their

    own pockets. If we were going to commit to

    this project, we needed to know the current

    lay of the land for youth sports in


    Nearly two years after the initial thought

    passed through my head, the MYAS Board

    of Directors gave their blessing and

    approved funding for the creation of the

    Wisconsin Sports Services.

    A lot has happened since then. All of the

    necessary registration paperwork,

    trademarks and documents were filed in

    both Wisconsin and Minnesota, which was

    a complicated and daunting task. Next was

    creating the WSS website

    (www.wisportsservices.org), which has

    been up and running since mid-January. The

    search for office space led us to 2317

    International Lane in Madison. We signed

    the lease on that space in February and

    started painting and setting up the office in

    March, with a target of an April 1 opening.

    Staffing the WSS was a challenge. When I

    polled the MYAS staff on who would like

    the challenge of moving to Wisconsin and

    taking on the task of building the WSS from

    scratch, only two hands were raised. Yes,

    you guessed it my two sons Adam (31)

    and Lance (28) would eventually be the first

    two pair of boots on the ground in

    Wisconsin. (I raised them as Packer and

    Badger fans so it was a no-brainer for them

    to jump on the bandwagon!)

    Since then, we have been joined by Brian

    Meeter, Marketing Director, and Beth Davis

    and Jake Wenzel as two additional Program

    Directors. They are all college graduates,

    with degrees in Sports Administration. The

    WSS full-timers will be assisted by six part-

    time Area Directors who are located in our

    hub cities of Eau Claire, Wausau, Green Bay,

    La Crosse, Madison and Milwaukee. So all

    together, we have 11 people ready and

    willing to do whatever is best for

    Wisconsins amateur sports population.

    With all of that said, having an office, a full-

    time staff and a website does not mean that

    we are established far from it. We fully

    understand that we are the new guys on

    the block and it will take some time to earn

    your respect, trust and confidence. I have

    repeatedly told the young and energetic

    WSS staffers that this is not a sprint, its a

    marathon. I fully expect that it will take 3-5

    years before the entire state is aware of

    what benefits the WSS brings to Wisconsin.

    It will take some time to build those

    relationships. It will take some time to

    figure out the Wisconsin sports puzzle, but

    we are up to the task. Weve done it before

    and we WILL do it againor die trying!

    So now you know how we got here. In a few

    years, I hope you are all saying,

    We are glad that you came!"

  • pg. 4

    isconsin Sports Services officially hit the ground running this spring

    with the launch of a dynamic web site and the launch of a

    sophisticated marketing attack with the help of Wisconsin Sports

    Network. In addition to an online ad campaign on the WSN web site, WSS was

    featured in an article in WSN Illustrated, the print and online magazine of

    Wisconsin Sports Network. Click here for a link to the magazine:


    The programming staff at WSS is busy putting together a series of youth and adult

    sporting events across the state. With that, businesses are asking how they can

    get involved with our growing number of events and marketing opportunities.

    There are many ways, from sponsoring single event, multiple events, and

    programs in general. For example, in August, Dudley softballs and Combat bats

    have signed on as sponsors of our USSSA State Softball Tournament in Janesville.

    There are many different ways to get involved, please contact Brian Meeter at

    brian@wisportsservices.org to find out how!

    Marketing Tip # 1: Offer Exclusive Deals to your Social Media Customers Social marketing through Facebook and Twitter can be a struggle for some businesses, especially new businesses trying to navigate the complex world of social media. Start with offering exclusive deals or content to your social media customers. Contests with prize giveaways are a perfect example to reward your customers, activate their interest, and create a buzz about your business. This can be a low cost effective way to increase your customer base and reward those who are active on your social network!


    MARKETING OF WSS EVENTS ON THE RISE By Brian Meeter, WSS Marketing Director

  • pg. 5

    isconsin Sports Services

    (WSS) baseball staff is

    proud to announce a

    new end of the year baseball event,

    the Badgerland Tournament of

    Champions (BTC). The BTC is the

    sister event to the Gopher State

    Tournament of Champions (GSTC),

    administered by the Minnesota

    Youth Athletic Services (MYAS).

    Widely regarded as the most

    prestigious youth baseball event in

    the Upper Midwest, 474 teams

    participated in the 2012 GSTC at

    three competitive divisions over six

    different age levels.

    Due to the success of the Minnesota

    program, the BTC aims to replicate

    the GSTC in bringing together the

    best teams in the state by selecting

    local invitational tournaments ran by

    local associations and awarding them

    qualifier status. The top finishing

    teams in each local tournament are

    awarded Automatic Berths as well as

    BTC points to all participating teams

    that can earn At-Large Berths through

    the BTC Points system.

    This year, the BTC will be offering

    tournaments at three age levels (10u,

    11u and 12u) in three different

    communities in August. Consistent

    with all WSS sanctioned events, we

    provide fundraising opportunities to

    a local youth sports group that

    provides the volunteer workforce and

    retains all concessions and

    admissions. We believe by partnering

    with our customers and allowing

    them to raise funds for their

    programs, it will result in a stronger

    local athletic community as a whole.

    This year, the Host Groups for the

    2013 BTC are Holmen Youth Baseba