The Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission on Monday awarded $95,200 in hotel, motel and restaurant tax money to the remainder of events whose organizers asked for financial help in 2014.
Commissioners allotted about $170,000 to 15 groups last month, before asking the remaining applicants to reapply.
The largest awards on Monday went to the 2014 National Veterans Golden Age Games ($45,000), Weekend of Champions ($11,000) and Fayetteville Foam Fest ($9,700). Other events set to receive money include a kid’s triathlon, a high school volleyball tournament, a gran fondo-style addition to the annual Joe Martin Stage Race, and three events promoted by the University of Arkansas Athletics Department.
The group was unanimous in granting the three largest awards, but a heated debate over whether to give $23,500 to the University of Arkansas set the stage for next month’s meeting agenda. Commissioners are scheduled to begin discussions about a possible overhaul of the biannual special funding process in January.
Fall A&P funding amounts
|2013||$421,980||$261,880||Story 1, 2|
Source: Staff report
Commissioner Matthew Petty last month raised concerns over a number of recurring applicants that regularly do not disclose all revenue and expenses for their events, including their organization’s regular annual budget. Full disclosure of those figures is a specific requirement as stated on application forms available on the Advertising and Promotion Commission’s website.
“It is not the intent of the Commission to fund requests that could be funded by the requesting organization,” the application also states.
Petty and commissioner Hannah Withers said full financial disclosure is important when determining whether an applicant can afford to pay for their event without support from the commission.
“I see a lot of things from the University of Arkansas Athletics Department,” Withers said last month. “I think that they can probably find the $10,000 that they’re looking for within their department.”
Petty said he asked university officials that exact question.
“When I asked them that question directly, they said the athletic department has a policy of covering all deficits for every event,” said Petty, pointing to the university’s $75 million annual athletic budget.
Commissioner Matt Behrend said while the school might not actually need the money, a donation to the university shows appreciation for the economic impact of the school’s athletic events in Fayetteville.
“I don’t want to make a token gesture,” said Petty. “I want to make a gesture that is meaningful. I get that Fayetteville wouldn’t be what it is without the university, but the fact is they are completely self-sustaining.”
Commission director Marilyn Heifner and Marlo Priest, sports marketing manager for the visitors bureau, said grants to the university are good-faith gestures that solidify a healthy working relationship between the two parties.
“Marlo and I go over there and beg for the use of the baseball stadium for other things like the Weekend of Champions,” said Heifner.
Petty said if the goal is to maintain relationships to obtain things like stadiums for other events, then it’s not working, considering that the university charges Weekend of Champions organizers $12,000 for the use of Baum Stadium, Bogle Park and the Razorback Soccer Field.
“I think it’s a business environment over there,” Petty said. “I think this is about how can (they) cut costs. I don’t think this is about scratching each other’s backs.”
While the other commissioners said they understood Petty’s concerns, they weren’t ready to cut off funding to the university entirely. The group voted 6-1 to give the university a little more than half of what it requested.
Below is the list of the 11 events considered on Monday, including award amounts for each organization. See last month’s story for amounts awarded to the other 15 groups requesting money.
- Fayetteville Foam Fest – Request: $14,050 | Award: $9,700
Feed Communities is requesting $14,050 to help support the third annual Fayetteville Foam Fest, a craft beer appreciation event which raises money for local hunger relief organization Feed Fayetteville. The group says it would use the money to buy promotional materials and to purchase radio, television and print advertisements. The group received $5,100 last fall.
- Golden Age Games – Request: $75,000 | Award: $45,000
Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks would like $75,000 to help support the National Veterans Golden Age Games which is set for June 28 – July 3, 2014. The annual rehabilitative multi-event competition for seniors includes air rifle, bowling, cycling, field (discus, shot, javelin), golf, horseshoes, mind sports (checkers, dominoes), nine-ball, shuffleboard, swimming, table tennis and track. Past events have been held in Buffalo, NY, St. Louis, MO, and Honolulu, HI, with average visitor counts of 1600-2000 out-of-area participants. The funds would be used for general promotion, tent and equipment rental, memorabilia, and meals for participants, volunteers and staff.
- Iron Pig Festival – Request: $5,000 | Award: $0
All Sports Productions’s first request is for $5,000 to support next year’s Iron Pig Festival, which includes a duathlon, 5K, fun run and bike TT on March 22, 2014. Funds would be used to pay for mailing expenses, email campaigns and ads placed in unspecified print and web publications. This event received $2,000 in fall 2012.
- Joe Martin Stage Race – Request: $10,000 | Award: $0
All Sports Productions’s second request is for $10,000 to support the 2014 Joe Martin Stage Race, set for April 24-27 at various locations around town. The group says that without $10,000 to put toward television production costs, the event would run a loss for the first time ever. Organizers received $5,000 for this event in 2012, but were not awarded any funding cash in 2011.
- Joe Martin Grand Fondo – Request: $15,000 | Award: $9,500
All Sports Productions’s third request is for $15,000 to add a non-competitive bike tour ride during the 2014 Joe Martin Stage Race festivities on April 26. Funds would be used to pay for mailing expenses, email campaigns and ads placed in unspecified print and web publications.
- Tri Sport Kid’s Triathlon – Request: $3,500 | Award: $3,500
All Sports Productions’s fourth request is for $3,500 to promote the 2014 Tri Sports Kid’s Triathlon, set for June 21 at Fayetteville Athletic Club and Lewis & Clark Outfitters. Funds would be used to pay for mailing expenses, email campaigns and ads placed in unspecified print and web publications. This event did not receive money the last two years, but All Sports Productions received $1,250 in 2010 for an event called “Kids and Family Triathlon.”
- Women’s Gymnastics Regional – Request: $3,500 | Award: $3,500
The University of Arkansas Athletics Department’s first request is for $3,500 to promote and offset hosting expenses related to the 2014 National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Fayetteville Regional, set for April 5 at Barnhill Arena.
- NCAA Track Prelims – Request: $10,000 | Award: $5,000
The University of Arkansas Athletics Department’s second request is for $10,000 to promote and offset hosting expenses for the 2014 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Preliminary Championships, set for May 29-31 at John McDonnell Field, Randal Tyson Track Center, Bev Lewis Center and Walker Pavilion.
- NCAA Baseball Regionals – Request: $10,000 | Award: $5,000
The University of Arkansas Athletics Department’s third request is for $10,000 to promote and offset hosting expenses for the 2014 NCAA Baseball Regional and Super Regional Championships, if Arkansas is awarded hosting privileges for those events. The commission has allocated money for regionals and super regionals in years past, but because the school was not awarded hosting privileges, no funds were distributed.
- Weekend of Champions – Request: $15,500 | Award: $11,000
Fayetteville High School’s first request is for $15,500 to support the 16th Annual Weekend of Champions baseball, soccer and softball event, set for May 23-24 on the University of Arkansas campus. Funds would be used to rent Baum Stadium, Bogle Park and Razorback Soccer Field; to buy signs and banners; to rent hotel rooms; pay bid costs; clean up the area after the event; and pay for security workers, gate workers, score board operators, book keepers and announcers. The school received $9,000 for this event in fall 2012.
- Tri-State Volleyball Challenge – Request: $3,000 | Award: $3,000
Fayetteville High School’s second request is for $3,000 to support the Tri-State Volleyball Challenge tournament, set for September 2014 at the school’s Bulldog Arena. Organizers said funds would be used to pay for “facility rental” fees, team travel expenses, and officiating expenses. The school received $3,000 for this event in fall 2012.