Seth Gaines is sports development director for the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau. He is responsible for creating, bidding, assisting and recruiting sporting events to the city to increase overnight visits to Tupelo. He also serves as a liaison between event organizers and the city’s partners, which include hotels, restaurants and facility owners and operators. He also works with potential sponsors and others in his work as a liaison.
Q. We’re only three months into the year, and it seems the calendar has been filling up quickly. What is the process in landing those type of events in Tupelo, and how involved is it?
A. Gathering information from everyone that has events is where I try to start. We look at our master calendar and start targeting specific weekends, if possible. Most all events are bid on, booked and planned a minimum of nine to 24 months out, but we may work on securing them for much longer than that. I am already working on the 2015-2016 calendars and targeting specific events to be in Tupelo in those years.
Q. The Color Vibe is in Tupelo this weekend, the first time for a fun run like this to happen. What kind of turnout is expected?
A. We are extremely excited about The Color Vibe being in Tupelo, and there are more than 3,000 people already registered for the event. This type of adventure race from a nationally recognized partner has been a three-year process of selling our town to host this event. Participants will have a great time running through downtown Tupelo. This is the essence of a fun race. Runners will run through the streets of Tupelo, get color thrown on them and have a lifelong experience to tell others about the time we painted the town blue, pink, yellow and purple. We knew The Color Vibe would be a huge success, so we are targeting other specialty races and events to take place here. We want them in Tupelo, and we know they can be successful if they take a chance on us.
Q. How do you market/sell Tupelo in your role as sports development director?
A. I sell Tupelo differently depending on the type of event we are trying to land. A lot of times Mississippi is the last to be exposed to certain nontraditional sports. We work to get national exposure as a meet in the middle location. People can drive four to eight hours to meet in Tupelo from Georgia and Texas instead of 12-16 hours to other locations to play different competition.