Dan Schemm, executive director of Norman CVB
(Oklahoma), has a mandate to boost sports tourism in Sooner Country. In April 2015, Norman citizens voted on a 0.5 percent sales tax increase called Norman Forward
, a $150 million initiative including enhancements, renovations, and new facilities and venues for all major sports. To boost that effort, the CVB hired Huddle Up Group
to advise on the formation of a sports commission. At the core of the partnership is a five-year strategic plan. Connect Sports recently caught up with Schemm, who earned two University of Oklahoma degrees, to ask about the HUG project and more in Norman.
Why did you hire a consultant?
The competition to attract sports tourism to communities is fierce, so if we were going to set up a sports commission to bring tournaments to Norman, we wanted to hire an expert to help us do it right the first time.
What sports are you going to focus on first?
That will depend on the order in which the Norman Forward projects get completed. That being said, we do have a strong existing soccer and softball community, so that will most likely be our first area of focus.
What are the city's top venues?
The University of Oklahoma has world-class facilities and the City of Norman has outstanding soccer and softball complexes.
Are any new facilities in the works?
Through Norman Forward, the city will be building a competition aquatic complex, enhancing Westwood Tennis Center, improving Reaves Park Baseball Complex, building new softball and football complexes, enhancing Griffin Park Soccer Complex and building a multisport indoor facility.
What other assets does the area have to draw events?
Whether it is your first time here or you are a regular, there is always something new to do. Take a stroll through Campus Corner or historic downtown; experience the excitement of a Sooner game day; or take in the natural beauty of Lake Thunderbird. No matter what time of year, Norman offers exceptional museums, performing arts, colorful galleries, boutique shopping, fabulous restaurants, three nearby casinos, four golf courses and exciting nightlife.