Outdoor Games Highlighting Tourism This Summer

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Nevada celebrates tourism week and state officials couldn't be happier about what's to come this summer. One of the biggest draws is expected to be ESPN's Great Outdoor Games.

Since the RSCVA announced Reno was getting the games back in December, things are going well for the event.

ESPN has a brand-new office downtown, just for the games. Television promos are running on most major networks, and billboards are up all around town.

Fifty-nine days and counting until ESPN takes over the "Biggest Little City in the World" for the Great Outdoor Games.

Workers at the downtown office are keeping busy where, in a month, they'll start setting up the venues.

"The Great Outdoor Games is all about events in the outdoors, and we want to try and match an area like this to be known as a an outdoor destination place," said Eric Matijevich.

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend the four-day event and it couldn't come at a better time for the tourism industry.

The RSCVA announced last week a four percent decline in room tax revenues. The visitor's authority is having to re-allocate $1.1 million to help revive the Reno market, using more advertising.

Deanna Ashby\R.S.C.V.A.]
"In the past we've had a half million to promote in travelers magazines," said Deanna Ashby of the RSCVA. "So this is a great opportunity to hit the core markets and rebrand ourselves as America's adventure place."

ESPN is helping in that effort by spending $15 million promoting the games and the location. Any time people turn on the tlevision, they'll see the backdrop of Rancho San Rafael, the Truckee River, or Lake Tahoe.

"It will help reposition Reno-Tahoe much better than anything we could have done," said Ashby.

ESPN is running promos to feeder markets in Central California and Southern Oregon. The one thing they still need is several hundred volunteers.

It's as easy as logging onto the internet and downloading an application. You can go to the "links" portion of this Web site where we have a link set up to take you to the Great American Outdoor Games Web site.

"There's a variety of activities to be involved with, and it's a great chance to meet the competitors and be involved in a fun event, " said Matijevich.

ESPN needs to fill 1,200 - 1,300 volunteer shifts. he Great Outdoor Games start July 10th, and run through the 13th.

But, they won't be broadcast until July 19 to the 22nd with 19 hours of original programming in front of national television audience.. There will also be nearly 30 hours of re-broadcasts.

(Copyright 2003 KOLO-TV, all rights reserved)