Feb 19 2016 Edition

    What happened in the previous two weeks:
    • Team USA won the silver medal in mixed team competition at the 2016 Youth Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Congratulations to athletes Luc Violette, Cora Farrell, Benjamin Richardson and Cait Flannery, and coach Tom Violette. All four athletes are now competing in the mixed doubles event, in which they are paired up with athletes from other participating nations.
    • The 2016 USA Curling Men’s and Women’s Nationals at Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville concluded on a high note Saturday with over 1,500 fans in the stands for the men’s gold medal game. Total attendance was over 5,800 for the week.
    • USCA Communications Director Terry Davis arranged for a SnapChat Live Story to occur the day of the men’s final in Jacksonville. For those unfamiliar with what this is, it is essentially the story of an event told from the perspective of the community of SnapChat users. This coverage resulted in many millions of views of these championships from users around the globe.
    • The Golf Channel had a crew at the championships in Jacksonville to produce a feature on curling while tying in the golf angle. Kudos to USCA Director and competitor Doug Pottinger for arranging for this feature.
    • There were 100 hours of coverage web streamed by the USCA – in partnership with Twelfth End Sports Network – from the Jacksonville Nationals, with the following audience numbers:
      • 44,993 unique page views (64,134 total page views)
      • 26,293 hours consumed (average of 1.5 hours per viewer)
    • The Jacksonville host committee did a great job of bringing special interest groups to Veterans Memorial Arena and thereby the USA Curling Nationals all week. As example, they hosted a breakfast Rotary club, Public Relations Association luncheon, and 500-person-strong “Book of Lists” party. A short demonstration curling sheet was installed by our ice crew at one end of the competition ice, providing a place for ticketed fans and VIPs to try their hand at throwing a rock and sweeping between the competition draws.
    • Connections made as a result of having the Nationals in Jacksonville, and groups at the arena, led to meetings with the owners of the Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex, who have a sincere interest in trying to start at curling club at their facility. Florida area curlers are promoting the sport during the championships, and already have a mailing list of over 60 individuals in Jacksonville who have said they would be interested in curling here. The efforts are being coordinated locally by Barry McLaughlin, Russ Lemcke and others who are fully intending for all clubs established in this state to become members of the USCA.
    • Curling is also taking root in Orlando, a couple hours down the road, where an open house will be held tomorrow. One of the Orlando Curling Clubmembers volunteered on the ice crew all week in Jacksonville to gain first-hand, invaluable experience for making the best possible ice for curling.
    • USCA Director Beau Welling arranged for a social/fundraising event hosted by good friends of his in Jacksonville, kicking off the week of the Nationals here. This evening served as a good blueprint for future events, and Chairman Lepping and I welcome conversations with Directors, Committee Members, and anyone else who would like to discuss having such an event.
    • The USA men take on China in episode #7 of Curling Night in America on NBCSN tonight, at 10:30 ET. Viewership for the first six episodes is approaching 1.3 million. Last week’s episode was again the highest rated show of the day on NBSCN, with 157,000 viewers on Friday night.
    • USA Curling’s mobile app is in the testing phase with a tentative launch date in late February/Early March thanks to our partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee. The USA Curling mobile app will be similar in content to the USOC’s Team USA app, which debuted last fall and includes live streaming content (when applicable), athlete bios, quick links to events/calendars and more. Be sure to download the Team USA app in our smart phone or Ipad’s app store and look for the USA Curling mobile app soon.
    • The printed editions of the Spring U.S. Curling News magazine will begin in-house delivery on 2/25. The digital edition, which includes bonus pages of content not in the printed edition, will be available on the Curling News app on that day and emailed to our membership on 2/25 as well.
    • As announced earlier today, the WFG Continental Cup of Curling will be returning to Las Vegas in 2017. Tickets are on sale now.
    • We have received, reviewed and signed a Ticket Policies and Regulations Agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee for tickets for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Initial ticket requests are expected to be due to the USOC by May 1, 2016.
    • The fourth meeting of the NGB Tier Working Group was held on Wednesday, and plans are for the rollout of information on the proposed new resource allocation achievement options to begin with all National Governing Bodies beginning in March.
    • I have been working with NBC and the World Curling Federation to facilitate getting the U.S. broadcast rights to the 2016 World Curling Championships to NBC. It looks as if this will proceed, but the amount of programming that will come out of this is still being determined.
    • The quarterly USCA Board of Directors meeting was held Feb. 11 by teleconference/webinar.
    • Chairman Lepping, Secretary Gordon Maclean and I have had conversations with several curling clubs over the past few weeks regarding USCA membership, and will continue to do so.
    What’s up next week:       
    • The 2016 World Mixed Doubles Team Trials begin Feb. 26 at the U.S. Olympic Training Site for curling in Blaine, Minn.
    • USWCA Meetings in Fairbanks, Alaska, Monday-Wednesday. USCA Chairman Rich Lepping will be attending.
    • USCA sponsor RAM Restaurant & Brewpub annual leadership conference, San Diego, Sunday-Tuesday.
    • NGB Council meeting, Thursday.
    What’s coming two weeks from now (Feb. 27 – March 4, 2016)
    • USCA Town Hall Meeting (teleconference), 7 p.m. CT, March 3.

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