We’re excited about hosting the 2011 US Nationals in Virginia Beach, VA this December. I hear that not everyone else is, so I’d like to share some information about the decision and the venue. First a quick summary: the city has a terrific, brand-new convention center with a free shuttle bus system connected to all the hotels and an energized local organizing committee led by Hall of Fame Board Member Dean Johnson. Their Convention and Visitors Bureau submitted a bid competing against Las Vegas and won on points.
Here’s what happened and what you can look forward too. USATT asks over 50 cities to submit bids for our major events. Some cities can’t accommodate our space needs and some don’t have local organizing committees to lead the effort, so not everyone submits a bid. We did have two strong bids this year: Las Vegas and Virginia Beach.
While we’re familiar with Vegas, their bid was for a different and less convenient hotel. We knew first hand that Virginia Beach had a nearly new venue that would lend itself well to our U.S. Nationals (access, lighting, airflow, meeting rooms, restrooms, delivery docks, venue labor, internet availability, support services) and it is within driving distance to a large number of our members and 2/3’s of the US population. They offered a wide array of quality hotels options with very competitive rates with a transportation plan designed to cater to the needs of the athletes and coaches. They have already committed to securing local sponsorship, a staff person who will be dedicated to attracting media coverage and spectators and recruiting more than adequate volunteers.
Since the move increases the travel time and cost for West Coast participants and there is a history with Vegas that we would give up for at least this year, the board debated these issues. The question was which would provide a better experience for the participants? Virginia offers greater convenience to the East Coast for the first time in years. (Folks on the East Coast consider Milwaukee and Grand Rapids as Mid-West, while folks in the West consider them East, but we can leave that one for the map-makers to debate.) The facility and the committee lend themselves to creating more of a festival event and to attracting more spectators and media. At the end of the debate, the board voted in favor of the move; we’re taking a risk to make improvements in the Nationals.
Dean Johnson will provide more color on what participants might expect in terms of local attractions that will be available as a follow-up to this blog with his CLOC Report. We’ll also post hotel information shortly. You can fly into Norfolk International Airport with service provided by American, Continental, Delta, Southwest, United Express and US Airways. See route map: http://www.norfolkairport.com/flight-information/route-map.
We’ll keep you posted on the developments as the year progresses and look forward to seeing you in Virginia.
PS Board Member David Del Vecchio as recently asked some questions about the bid process and I am happy to share his reply.