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Business connection lands event

John Seelmeyer

So how did Reno land the Volleyball Festival that will fill hotels throughout the region the rest of this month? Simple.

Mike Davis made a phone call.

Davis, vice president for marketing and operations at Molten USA in Sparks, knew the Volleyball Festival well.

His company, one of the dominant suppliers of volleyballs to the sport, long had been a sponsor of the event in California.

A few years ago, Davis visited the Volleyball Festival in Sacramento and was struck how participants and venues were scattered far across the northern California city.

Some participants were staying 30 miles from the venues where they played.

“The more I thought about it, the more I thought Reno could do a better job with it,” he recalled last week.

That led to a call to the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, which followed up the lead and began negotiations to bring the Volleyball Festival to Reno.

Unbeknownst to Davis when he placed the call, organizers of the tournament were just beginning talks about renewing their contract with Sacramento.

Instead, they signed a five-year deal with Reno running through 2008.

Molten USA doesn’t get any benefit from the fact that one of the biggest athletic events in the world an event that focuses on one of its primary product lines is in its backyard.

If anything, Davis said, it’s resulted in extra work for the approximately dozen people who work at the company’s U.S.

headquarters in Sparks.

After all, they want the event to come off well.

“Bringing this tournament does nothing for us,” Davis said.

“It’s something that we’re doing for Reno and for the event.”

“We were excited when we signed the agreement with Volleyball Festival last year and the event is proving to be a great investment for the community and we are very proud to add Volleyball Festival to our area’s growing attractions and events,” said Jeff Beckelman, president and CEO for the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority.

“We thank Molten USA for recommending that the Volleyball Festival consider Reno as a site for the tournament and for helping to ‘Bring A Meeting Home.'”

The call that Davis made will result in one of the largest economic impacts ever felt in northern Nevada from a special event.

The RSCVA estimates the 9,500 tournament participants along with their parents, and others in town for the event will spend $28 million from June 26 and July 2.

Hotels will be a primary beneficiary, selling 43,000 room nights through the tournament.

About 40 percent of the participants come from Southern California.

Twenty percent come from Northern California, and another 20 percent come from Oregon,Washington and Idaho.

The remaining states, Canada and Puerto Rico account for 20 percent of the participants.

They’ll be playing at 122 courts 73 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, 26 at a warehouse at 550 Coney Island in Sparks, eight at a warehouse at 1190 Tradewind in Reno, eight at City Center Pavilion and six at the Reno Hilton.