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Elizabethtown tourism officials poured time and money into promoting the Elizabethtown Sports Park, and those efforts are paying off less than six months after its grand opening.
The park recently was honored with a first-place Traverse Award from the Kentucky Travel Industry Association during its annual conference in Bowling Green.
The award recognizes the marketing campaign devised around the park. The campaign included print brochures, advertising, spots in trade publications, submitted articles and items branded with the Elizabethtown Sports Park logo, such as water bottles, said Janna Clark, sports and sales director for the Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Bureau.
"ETCB is thrilled to be recognized with such a prestigious honor,” Clark said in an email. “We look forward to the continued success of our newest tourist attraction to bolster our sports tourism efforts."
Traverse Awards are given to Kentucky Travel Industry Association and Kentucky Hotel & Lodging Association members marketing a specific product or service. The awards are broken down into 21 categories, representing everything from best website and print brochure to best advertising and use of social media. Each entry is judged on the overall concept, creativity, design and how the product or service relates to the targeted audience.
Clark said the award validates the hard work placed into the promotion of the park and the emphasis placed on certain audiences to give the sports park a larger footprint.
“We continue to be amazed about how many know about the park on a national level,” Clark said.
Park Director Seth Breitner said the strength of tourism’s marketing campaign is a major reason the park has been able to attract a number of high quality events in its first year. Breitner said receiving the award is an honor.
“I think it definitely shows the strong (relationship) between tourism and the city to market the park,” he said.
The nod is not the first award in the park’s young life. It recently received facility of the year in class 1 of the Kentucky Parks & Recreation Society Awards this year.
Since opening in late July, the park has attracted 22 sporting events with 555 sports teams and 9,419 athletes, according to Clark. Of those numbers, roughly 476 teams and 7,992 athletes were visitors to the area, she said.
Eight of the events were soccer, seven were baseball, four were football, two were fast-pitch softball and one was cross country, Clark said.
The estimated economic impact from those events was projected at more than $4.5 million as of Tuesday. Economic impact figures are based on a state formula estimating how much money overnight and single-day visitors spend on average during a visit.
Clark said the park’s success has been generated with a shortened schedule in the first year.
“We are continuing to turn away business so to speak,” said Clark, who added officials have had to reject events at the park because they cannot fit them on the calendar.
“But if we could, we would,” she said.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or email@example.com.