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Best Practice: USTA/Northern Section Media Award

Best Practice: USTA/Northern Section Media Award

Definition and Example: 
The USTA/Northern Section annually presents the Media Award as part of its awards program.  The Media Award recognizes a person from the newspaper, radio or TV media who has provided exemplary tennis coverage in the Northern Section.  Typically, this individual attends the awards program luncheon or dinner where many other awards recognizing individuals and organizations are presented.  The award is presented by the Northern Section Marketing and Communications Director.

Media coverage, including from major media such as a daily newspaper or major market TV station, is an important marketing tool.  Media coverage of tennis creates awareness and enhances the image of the sport.  Media stories also provide credibility that other types of marketing (such as promotions and advertising) do not.  Without media coverage it is more difficult to draw potential customers to an event, particularly when there is no paid advertising budget. If the event needs ticket revenues to help cover its budget, media coverage becomes even more important to the success of an event.

People appreciate being recognized and honored.  The Media Award makes a statement that the Northern Section values the media coverage by the person being recognized and honored.  Developing rapport with media contacts enhances therelationship and makes it easier and more effective to gain "an audience" to present ideas for media coverage.  A key need of the Northern Section has been to generate news media publicity for the Cortec $50,000 USTA Women's Tournament.  This circuit event is owned and operated by the section.  There is no paid advertising budget to generate awareness and excitement among the public.  Maximizing daily newspaper, radio and TV coverage of the event in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area is important for attracting customers to the event. 

Selecting a recipient should be based on past performance by the media person.  However, the Media Award winner does not have to be a person who has covered tennis for a long time.  What is important is the quality and impact of the coverage.  The Northern Section's 2002 honoree, Glen Crevier, assistant managing editor for sports with the Star Tribune newspaper, had approved minimal coverage of local tennis prior to 2002.  However, following a series of meetings and communications, coverage improved dramatically in 2002.  This coverage included stories and scores about the Cortec Tournament that impacted the event's success.  In November of 2002 Mr. Crevier attended the Northern Section's awards dinner to receive his award.  It is highly recommended to do everything possible to have the honoree attend the awards event.  The occasion will provide the opportunity to spend quality time with the honoree and build further rapport.

People Involved: 
The key planners were David Shama, director of marketing and communications for the Northern Section, and Marcia Bach, executive director of the Northern Section. 

It is recommended that you allow about 60 days to plan for the Media Award.  This will enable the Marketing and Communications Director to make a well thought out recommendation to the Executive Director.  There should also be enough time to provide advance notice to the honoree and request that the individual attend the awards program.

Costs are minimal. Costs specifically are the expense of the award and the honoree's meal at the awards program.

David Shama
USTA Northern Section
1001 West 98 Street, Suite 101
Bloomington, MN 55431
Phone: 952-887-5001, ext. 18.  

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