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Volume 25 No. 199
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USA Swimming Introducing New Stops To Top-Flight Pro Series

USA Swimming is taking its top-flight pro series to four new locations in '19 after it solicited bids from cities willing to pay a rights fee, abandoning traditional venues that were accustomed to renting their facility. The NGB historically would pay local organizers of the Tyr Pro Swim Series, which was sponsored by Arena before this year, and only generated its own revenue from national sponsorships. Suspecting that host-city demand outstripped the supply of dates, USA Swimming President & CEO Tim Hinchey flipped the model earlier this year, hoping to monetize that demand and encourage better local promotion of the sometimes-sleepy weekend meets by sharing risk. Fifteen cities bid for five '19 dates. In the new model, hosts will split ticket sales with USA Swimming but keep all meet entry fees, concessions and local sponsorships. The '19 tour will hit first-time hosts Knoxville, Tenn.; Des Moines, Iowa; Richmond, Va.; and Bloomington, Ind. A fifth location for the last meet of the season will be announced soon, USA Swimming officials said. The tour last year made stops in Austin; Indianapolis; Mesa, Ariz.; Atlanta; and Santa Clara. Of those, only Santa Clara submit a bid for '19. "There’s certain markets that aren’t really happy with me,” Hinchey said. “We were going to some very traditional natatoriums, but they weren’t selling out and they weren’t activating the marketplace, and I felt, right or wrong, we needed to incentivize that.”

FRESH APPROACH: USA Swimming would not disclose the size of the rights fees. While the switch turned an expense into a revenue item, Hinchey said it is equally important that the new economic model spur a fresh marketing approach. “It wasn’t about the money for me,” he said. “It’s about building a real partnership where we both have skin in the game.” USA Swimming has agreed to send two top athletes to help promote the events ahead of time. The model is based on how USA Swimming does business in Omaha, Neb., a place that is not a traditional swimming hotbed but has hosted the last three Olympic Trials to great acclaim.

Jan. 9-12
Knoxville, Tenn.
March 6-9
Des Moines, Iowa
April 10-13
Richmond, Va.
May 17-19
Bloomington, Ind.
June 12-15
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