Tourism Board approves sports marketing and bans graffiti

Members of the McMinnville Tourism Development Board approved of sports tourism but rejected the mural.

“I’m not against the murals, but I think we’re doing well at the moment,” said Christy Ross, a member of the Tourism Development Board.

This sentiment was echoed by the other participants, verbally and nodding their heads when they turned down an offer from Virginia artist Cheyenne Marcus to paint a wall in McMinnville. She intends to complete 50 murals in 50 states and McMinnville would be the location of the Tennessee mural. The cost was unknown.

Members approved $750 for a membership to Play Tennessee, an online marketing website that seeks to link sporting events to accessible venues. This amount covers the annual membership on the site.

Sports marketing will primarily focus on amenities at the Milner Recreation Center.

“It was interesting to hear from them and their perspective on the conference they want people to attend,” said McMinnville Parks and Recreation director Justin Scott. “Basically, you are selling McMinnville. You go to a conference and sell us. What McMinnville is going to give and what we can offer to bring people to McMinnville.”

Scott says he contacted Kingsport, which is a member of Play Tennessee. “Kingsport started with six tournaments. I think he said that they are now at 17 major events. They’ll bring basketball courts and put them up in their convention center, and they’ll have four courts running at the same time as college basketball. People want to come to them and let them receive guests.”

According to Scott, Milner Center doesn’t have to be playing in Tennessee to be successful.

“Obviously we have a great facility at the Milner Center. You don’t have to have Play Tennessee to be successful, but you do need the right people in your community who have that reach. I was approached by Jim Carden about hosting AAU basketball tournaments at Milner Center. Maybe contact coach Matt Turner about hosting wrestling tournaments at the Milner Center. We have fields. We have football fields and baseball fields.”

While members of the TDB provided $750 in membership fees to place McMinnville on the Play Tennessee website, no funds were allocated to attend the conference.

“$750 gives us access to the website, but most importantly, attendance at the conference,” said TDB administrator Dairon Deaton-Owens. “That’s where you’ll make contacts. You go in and sell McMinnville. A person can come in and say, “I was at a disc golf tournament,” and you are here to explain to him why he should be here. Attending the conference is very, very important.”

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