By the time the Professional Disc Golf Association U.S. Women Disc Golf Championships get underway next fall, it will have been years since the Greater Lansing Sports Authority (GLSA) started working to make the event happen.
Between now and then, GLSA staff will keep working to make sure everything goes smoothly when approximately 150 women come to Lansing to compete for national titles in 2018. That way, when play begins September 21, Keith Aten won’t have to worry about anything other than what’s happening on the course.
“My job is to make sure the tournament itself runs smoothly,” said Aten, a veteran disc golf tournament director who lives in Ithaca, Michigan. “As far as the extra stuff (surrounding the tournament), the sports authority is handling that. I was very happy to say ‘Yeah, I’ll be the tournament director for this if we can partner with the GLSA on the other stuff.’”
For national championships and local events alike, the GLSA functions as an event organizer’s boots on the ground before, during and after an event. The GLSA will put together bid packages, arrange hotel accommodations, handle registration, reserve facilities, line-up vendors, create credentials, order signs and more. They work as an extension of the groups’ staff but with lots of local contacts and know-how.
Another great benefit to working with the sports authority? GLSA services are free. The GLSA is funded by hotel taxes collected in the Capital region, so its main goal is to help organizations run events that bring people into town to help stimulate the local economy.
“We’re the group that can help with those extra touches,” said Meghan Ziehmer, GLSA associate director. “We’ll be as involved as you need or as hands-off as you want us to be. We value partnerships with event groups and look for ways to be as helpful as possible. Everything we do is free of charge.”
Here’s a glimpse of the custom services the GLSA provides to help pull off exceptional events in Greater Lansing, Michigan:
- When the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association held its national championships at MSU this fall, the GLSA worked to help provide everything from portable toilets, a PA system, volunteers and welcome packets to setting up medical staff on-site, social media assistance secured space and a pasta dinner for nearly 2,000 competing athletes and much more.
- The GLSA served as the liaison between the Special Olympics state bowling and poly hockey tournaments and the facilities that hosted them, assisting with hotels, social media, local referrals and more. The GLSA also sponsored a volunteer breakfast for the event.
- When organizers of several Midwest youth hockey tournaments expressed interest in expanding to Lansing, the GLSA connected the group to a facility, made signs and prepared welcome gifts for the teams. The event consisted of 48 teams and the GLSA assisted with hotel rooms for teams, coaches and spectators.
“There are not a lot of full-service sports commissions, especially in Michigan,” Ziehmer said. “We will help run the event and all the proceeds will go back to your organization, no matter what the sport or the size of the event.”
The state of Michigan has a vibrant disc golf community with nearly 100 clubs around the state, and the GLSA looks forward to bringing all of its services to bear for the Women’s Championships in 2018.
Now, with the 2018 bid accepted by the PDGA, the GLSA is doing all the behind-the-scenes work: reserving hotel rooms, planning player parties, recruiting volunteers, making signs, preparing credentials and more.
“It takes somebody with the ambition to tackle it,” Aten said. “The GLSA is the lead. I have no doubt that it will go smoothly just because this is their job and this is what they do.”
To learn more about how you can get involved with the Greater Lansing Sports Authority please visit www.lansingsports.org.