Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority

Special Event Partnership Funding


Application for RSCVA Special Event Funding


The Partnership Funding program for 2014 calendar year events has concluded. The application timeline for 2015 calendar year events will be announced in Summer 2014.

Please read the information provided on this website carefully before submitting an application for Partnership Funding.     
*   *   *   *   *
The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) offers a Special Event Partnership Funding program for annual special events. Applications are accepted once a year, in the Fall, for events that take place in the subsequent calendar year.   Applications are now being accepted for events occurring in 2014.
If your event is interested in submitting an application for consideration, please review the following details about the program and note that the application process consists of two-steps: 
(1)  submit the online application
(2)  prepare a presentation packet of your supporting documents (outlined in Section G below)
Please note that submission of an application and supporting information DOES NOT guarantee that Partnership Funding will be awarded.


Relating to the Partnership Funding program, special events are defined as:
 An organized annual event that generates overnight visitors for two or more Washoe County lodging properties, as well as out-of-area marketing exposure, and is of interest to the general public. Historically these events have included, but are not limited to: festivals, fairs, community events and certain sporting events. Qualified events must reinforce the RSCVA’s branding message, provide the RSCVA with a sustainable and appealing destination message, and attract overnight visitors.
The RSCVA is funded by room taxes generated when paid rooms are utilized in a Washoe County lodging facility. Therefore, Partnership Funding is earmarked for events that occur within Washoe County and have a history of (or the potential of) attracting significant overnight visitors to Washoe County.  Partnership Funding is intended to provide special events the opportunity to augment their  marketing to target potential out-of-market visitors (spectators).  Awards are not to be used to offset the operational costs of producing an event. 
If an event occurs outside of Washoe County but is able to demonstrate significant room nights for Washoe County, it may be considered by the Funding Advisory Panel in the following circumstances: event location is promoted as being in a Washoe County municipality (Reno, Sparks, Incline Village, Crystal Bay); event is in close proximity to Washoe County and occurs in a location without lodging; a majority of the event elements are held in Washoe County (if multiple locations are utilized); Washoe County is promoted as the primary bed base and receives significant room nights.
The RSCVA’s mission as it relates to the Special Event Partnership Funding program is:
  • To generate new incremental room nights at desirable hotel rates for Washoe County lodging properties.
  • To create positive awareness and motivate travelers to visit Reno Tahoe through out-of-market advertising.
  • To increase repeat visitation. Visitors who come to the destination for an event and have an enjoyable experience are more likely to return to at another time.
  • To assist with the RSCVA's destination branding message(s) for Reno Tahoe USA.
The RSCVA reserves the right to determine if your special event qualifies to apply for Partnership Funding.  If you are uncertain whether your event would be considered, please consult with the Special Events & Marketing Manager prior to submitting an application.  The following guidelines may also assist in determining qualification:
  • The event actively promotes to out-of-market, overnight visitors (spectators) and is not predominantly an event for local residents.
  • The event generates overnight visitors for Washoe County.
  • The event is fundamentally not a conference, meeting, trade show or expo.
  • The RSCVA will not be the sole/primary revenue source for the event.  The event will take place regardless whether RSCVA Partnership Funding is awarded.
  • The event's Partnership Funding application request does not exceed 25% of the overall event budget and  awarded funds will be used for advertising, marketing and event promotion.
  • The event is/will occur annually in the destination. It is not a one-time only occurance.
  • The event is open to the public (spectators), promotes to spectators and does not require the public (spectators) to purchase a membership, conference registration or annual dues to spectate. Spectator ticket charges are acceptable for gated events.   
  • The event will secure partnerships with at least TWO Washoe County lodging properties as the event must benefit more than a single lodging entity.  Partnerships can be in the form of any of the following: cash/in-kind sponsorship, room block, special room rate for event, venue location or marketing/promotional assistance. 


Submitting an application for 2014 RSCVA Special Event Partnership Funding is a TWO-STEP process. All documents outlined in the steps below must be completed and submitted by the deadline in order to be considered by the Funding Review Panel.  If the event occurs close to/or after the October 31, 2013 application deadline, information from the previous year can be submitted in lieu of 2013 information, when appropriate.
(1)       Complete and submit the online application form by 5:00pm on October 31, 2013 (which can be found at
(2)       Submit a written presentation of supporting documents detailed below in Section G:Supporting Documents Required with Event Application.”   The supporting documents should substantiate and detail the information provided in the event's online application. Applications will not be considered unless all of the documents in Section G are received by, or before, the final deadline of 5:00pm on Thursday, October 31, 2013.
Early Application Option:
5:00pm on Friday, October 4, 2013  
If you would like RSCVA staff to assess your submission in advance of the final deadline, your online application and supporting documents must be submitted by 5:00pm on Friday, October 4, 2013.  Staff will then review your documents and provide feedback about missing or incomplete sections.  Events can then make revisions and resubmit their final documents by the final application deadline of October 31. Review and feedback by RSCVA staff does not guarantee that an event will receive Partnership Funding as an independent panel makes award recommendations.
Final Application Deadline:
5:00pm on Thursday, October 31, 2013
If you do not desire advance review and feedback by RSCVA staff, the final deadline for submission of applications and supporting documents is by, or before, 5:00pm on Thursday, October 31, 2013. Supplemental information and required documents cannot be accepted after the deadline.  Events are encouraged to avoid submitting at the last minute so that they have time to resubmit missing or incomplete documents (if applicable).
It is the responsibility of the applicant to confirm with the Special Events & Marketing Manager that their online application and supporting documents are complete and have been received by the deadline.
Supporting documents can be submitted in electronically or hard copy to:

Nina Brown
Special Events & Marketing Manager
4001 South Virginia Street, Suite “G”
Reno, NV 89502-6019
Office: 775-827-7721
Fax: 775.827.7781



Please observe the following definitions when submitting your Partnership Funding application:
Within a 100-mile radius from Reno. Communities include, but are not limited to: Reno, Sparks, Lake Tahoe basin, Truckee, Carson City, Fallon, Fernley, and Minden/Gardnerville. In-market spectators and attendees theoretically have a lower propensity to utilize overnight accommodations.
More than a 100-mile radius from Reno.  Spectators and participants that reside more than 100-miles from Reno may have a greater propensity to utilize Washoe County lodging.
Someone who attends an event to watch and/or to be entertained (example: a spectator would watch a balloon race; cheer on friends/family competing in a race; attend a music performance or food festival).
Someone who attends the event specifically to compete, entertain, or perform support staff duties (example: a competitor in a triathlon, a driver in an off-road race, pit crew, TV broadcast production crew, etc)
The unique individuals that attend an event.
Total Attendance:
The compilation of daily attendance.
Room Nights:
The total number of rooms occupied multiplied by the number of nights each room was occupied.
Emerging Event:  
An event that is in its first five years of existence in the destination. This includes new events that are off-shoots of existing events, but slated to occur separately and at a different time of year from the original event. 
Existing Event: 
An event that has been in existence for more than five years in the destination. 
Legacy Event: 
An event that has been in existence in the destination for more than 10 years, generates an estimated 5,000 room nights or garners at least $250,000 in quantifiable out-of-area marketing exposure.


Friday, October 4, 2013:      Early Application Deadline
Thursday, October 31, 2013:      Final Application Deadline
December :      Advisory Panel Reviews Applications, Makes Award Recommendations
January 2014:      RSCVA Marketing & Sales Committee Review of Panel Recommendations
January 2014:      RSCVA Board of Directors Review and Approval
2014 (ongoing):      Contracts Prepared
If Partnership Funding is approved, the applicant will be required to sign an RSCVA contract agreeing to the terms and conditions of the partnership (which includes an itemization of the agreed-upon sponsor amenities that the RSCVA shall receive from the event) and issue a general liability insurance policy naming the RSCVA as additional insured.
Partnership funds will be disbursed in two installments. A partial payment of 50% will be made upon receipt of the signed contract, confirmation of event’s marketing plan and confirmation of Washoe County lodging partners/sponsors.  The remaining 50% payment will be made after the event takes place, subject to completion of contractual agreements, amenities and a post-event report to the RSCVA. 


Partnership Funding applications will be reviewed by RSCVA staff to ensure that all required materials have been provided. Failure to submit all of the required documents by the final application deadline will result in disqualification.
Following staff review, all applications will be evaluated by an anonymous, independent advisory panel representing community stakeholders and event experts.  Applicants do not attend the review session, therefore it is imperative your application and supporting documents communicate complete information. 
Advisory panel members will evaluate and discuss each application. Events will be compared against other events in their respective category (Emerging, Established, and Legacy); events will not be compared against events in other categories. The advisory panel will make Partnership Funding award recommendations based on:  analysis of the event based on information provided in the application and supporting documents, the event’s comparative ranking against other events in their category, the amount of funding available, and the destination's current situation analysis.  In January 2014, the recommendations of the advisory panel will then be presented to the RSCVA Board of Directors for review, discussion and final approval.   
Submitting an application does not  guarantee Partnership Funding will be awarded. In lieu of a cash award, the RSCVA may elect to provide in-kind marketing assistance in the form of public relations, social marketing, or other services.
The advisory panel will consider the following in their evaluation: 
  • Out of market exposure that event generates; support of Reno Tahoe USA branding; event's marketing plan to attract overnight visitors (advertising, PR, newsletters, eblasts, etc)
  • Whether event receives nationally broadcast TV, cable or webcast coverage
  • Sponsorship amenities available to RSCVA
  • Event attendance of spectators and participants (if applicable), specifically out-of-market visitors
  • Room night estimates and potential for growth
  • Lodging partnerships
  • Timing of event dates (does it occur in a "need" period or during an already busy visitor season)
  • Professional, turn key management
  • Evaluation of financial stability of event
  • Is an RSCVA facility utilized     


Partnership Funding is similar to a sponsorship. Therefore, sponsor amenities should be extended to the RSCVA that are similar in value to the Partnership Funding award recommended by the panel. 
Sponsorship amenities that provide the RSCVA with out-of-market marketing/sales opportunities are considered more beneficial because they support the RSCVA's efforts to increase out-of-market destination awareness.  Potential sponsor amenities will be considered by the Review Panel when  determining award recommendations.  We recognize that sponsor amenities vary with each event and that the RSCVA's final contracted amenities package will be influenced by the actual funding award. 
The following list provides examples of amenities that could assist the RSCVA in marketing the destination.  Amenities that reach potential out-of-market visitors are considered more beneficial.  These suggestions are not an all-inclusive; if your event has unique opportunities that are not listed below, please include them in your application.  
  • RSCVA commercial inventory on television broadcast or webcast
  • Opportunity for destination exposure via destination vignettes, interviews, on-air announcements of Reno Tahoe USA branding messages during television broadcast or webcast
  • Opportunity for billboard recognition during television broadcast
  • Inclusion of RSCVA logo in event’s out-of-market print ads
  • Inclusion of RSCVA logo in event's brochure or direct mail pieces
  • Inclusion of RSCVA logo and hyperlink in event's e-newsletters
  • Providing an opportunity for an RSCVA message in event's e-newsletter
  • Banner advertisement on event’s website and/or webcast URL
  • Event tickets (for RSCVA contest giveaways on to help promote event)
  • Opportunity to interact with out-of-market media that are scheduled to attend the event
  • Ad space in event's program guide
  • Distribution of RSCVA destination brochures at out-of-market shows that event's staff may attend, or at out-of- market partner business locations
  • "Official sponsor" designation that provides a unique opportunity for RSCVA messaging
  • Distribution of RSCVA collateral materials in event's participant registration packets
  • RSCVA logo on event posters, postcards, logo wear
  • RSCVA logo and hyperlink on event’s Facebook page
  • Posting specific messages (content provided by RSCVA) on event's Facebook page
  • Messaging/banners on event's shuttle transportation
  • RSCVA banner displayed during event
  • Daily PA announcements during the event (branding PAs will be provided by the RSCVA)
  • Exhibit booth at the event (to promote the destination and other upcoming special events to spectators)
  • Other opportunities?
Recipients of Partnership Funding are expected to provide the following, over and above the sponsorship amenities package extended to the RSCVA: 
  • RSCVA logo/hyperlink on special event’s website
  • Ability for the RSCVA to utilize the event logo and photos in marketing and promotion


In addition to the online application, the following documents are also required as part of the application process and must be submitted by the deadline in order for your application to be considered.  These documents should support and substantiate the information provided in event's on-line application.
Events applying for $2,500 or more in Partnership Funding:
Required documents include items 1-7 and 9-10.  Item 8 is only needed if applicant wants their event's out-of-market public relations/advertising equivalency to be considered (in lieu of out-of-marketing advertising budget).  Item 11 is optional.
Events applying for less than $2,500 Partnership Funding:
required documents include items 1-7.   Item 8 is only needed if applicant wants their event's out-of-market public relations/advertising equivalency to be considered (in lieu of out-of-marketing advertising budget).  Item 11 is optional.

(1)  Event Overview and Goals:

This is your opportunity to “sell” the benefits of your event to the independent panel that will evaluate applicants. 
  • Provide a comprehensive description about the event, activities, location(s) and any other information that would be relevant to help the Review Panel understand the event and its impact on the destination.
  • Summarize the strategy to grow the event and attract spectators.  Special events should demonstrate the ability (or potential) to attract spectators by giving them a reason to visit the destination.
  • If you have economic impact statistics, or spectator demographics, include them. 
  • If the event will be televised, provide details about the broadcast and asset opportunities for destination promotion (commercials, interviews, destination vignettes, beauty shots, etc).  Viewership ratings information from the previous year's broadcast is encouraged. 
  • Include an explanation about how Partnership Funding would be utilized.


(2)  2013 Financial Statement:

Also known as a Profit & Loss statement, this document will show revenue received vs. total expenses, resulting in an overall profit or loss.
  • Provide event's 2013 P&L statement.

(3)  2014 Event Budget:

Estimate how much money will be needed to produce your upcoming event and how that money will be spent.
  • Include itemized revenue sources (ticket sales, sponsorship sales, F/B sales, alternate revenue streams, etc)
  • Include itemized expense line items (operations, equipment rentals, overhead, entertainment, etc). Be sure to include the advertising/marketing expenses as well.
Note:  Please make sure that the line item expenses for advertising/marketing in your Event Budget are consistent with the information submitted in the online application, as well as the information provided in the 2014 Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations Plan. 

(4)  2014 Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations Plan:

This document should outline all marketing and communications planned for the event with corresponding budget. If there are major changes to the plan after the Partnership Funding award amount has been determined, the RSCVA reserves the right to adjust the award accordingly. Information should include: 
  • Outline the marketing and communications plans for the event, including budget and goals, designated by in-market and out-of-market.  If the event has marketing partners who will provide in-kind services to promote the event, include particulars and a value of those services.

(a)  Out-of-Market:  Illustrate how much of your budget will be spent out-of-market; and provide an itemized list of your planned media buys (include broadcast, print, outdoor, web, email blasts, collateral, etc.)

(b)  In-Market:  Illustrate how much of your budget will be spent in-market, and provide an itemized list of  your planned media buys (include broadcast, print, outdoor, web, email blasts, collateral, etc.)

  • Provide details about your social media and web marketing plan
  • Detail what the communications/public relations plan for the media and the general public, both in-market and out-of-market

(5)  Estimated Room-Night Utilization and Partner Hotels (2013 and 2014):

Information provided in this section should be consistent with the figures provided in the online application. The RSCVA acknowledges the difficulty in substantiating room nights since visitors’ book through a variety of methods (internet specials, wholesale packages, OTAs and casino promotions) rather than established blocks. 
  • Provide a good faith estimate for room nights. Documentation from hotels verifying your room night utilization and room rate is not required.  However, if information exists that can corroborate and substantiate your room night estimates, it would be beneficial to include them (such as:  partner hotel room block contracts, hotel pick-up reports, research studies, onsite surveys, participant registration, etc.).   

(a)   2013 Event: Provide your best estimate of room nights generated as a direct result of the event, as well as the hotel partners that likely received overnight visitors.  Please differentiate room night estimates by complimentary rooms and paid rooms. Inflated estimates could result in the reduction or elimination of partnership funding awards. Include an explanation of how the projections were derived.  

(b)   2014 Event: Provide a good faith estimate of the projected room nights that could be generated as a direct result of the event. Identify anticipated room nights by paid rooms versus comp rooms.  Include an explanation of how the projections were derived.  Also provide a list of the anticipated Washoe County lodging partners.  Partnerships can be in a variety of forms, including: cash sponsorship, in-kind sponsorship, room block, special room rates for event, venue location or marketing/promotional assistance.    

Note:  Complimentary rooms are those in which no revenue was received by the hotel (ie:  the hotel provided the rooms at no charge to the event organizer, spectator or participant).  If the hotel received monetary compensation for a room from the event organizer, a spectator or participant, it is a paid room.


(6)  Event Attendance (2013 and 2014):     

Information provided in this section should be consistent with the figures provided in the online application.  Event attendance is an important consideration by the review panel.  “Critical mass” is a significant attribute of special events as it generates excitement, activity and a positive destination image to existing visitors and potential future visitors. 
  • Provide a good faith attendance estimateIf 2014 is the first time the event will be held in the destination, simply provide an estimate of anticipated 2014 attendance and how that estimate was derived. If attendance information is available from a related event in other destination, you are encouraged to provide this information.

(a)   2013 Actual Attendance: Provide total attendance (spectators and participants) for the 2013 event. If the event offered multiple performances and/or event venues in which unique individuals could likely be counted multiple times on any given day, identify (to the best of your ability) the average number of performances that an individual typically attends.  Attendance figures should be categorized by out-of-market visitors versus in-market.  Include an explanation about the methodology of measurement (gate receipts, exit surveys, research data, etc).

(b)   2014 Projected Attendance: Provide your best estimate of projected total attendance (spectators and participants) for 2014; figures should be categorized by out-of-market visitors versus in-market.   Include an explanation about the methodology used for the projection.

(7)  Partnership Funding Amenities Available to the RSCVA:

Partnership Funding is considered a sponsorship and the potential amenities available to the RSCVA will be evaluated by the panel.  Sponsorship amenities that provide the RSCVA the opportunity to introduce or reinforce our brand/message out-of-market are considered more valuable as it supports our mission to attract overnight visitors. 
We realize that sponsorship amenities will vary with each event and that the final amenities package to the RSCVA will be dictated by the actual funding award. Please refer to Section F (above) for more details and amenity suggestions.   
  • Include an itemized menu of potential sponsorship amenities that the RSCVA could receive and its corresponding "sales" value (the price advertised to potential sponsors) If a "sales" value is not available, provide a credible estimated value.  
  • If the event will be televised and can provide commercial inventory, interviews, vignette's or any other on-air exposure to the RSCVA as a sponsorship amenity, provide details.  If interaction with out-of-market media is a potential amenity, provide specifics of the media outlets typically represented at the event.

(8)  Optional - Previous Year’s Out-of-Market Advertising Value Equivalency:

This optional information is only submitted if an event is requesting equivalency consideration in lieu of having a budget for out-of-market advertising.
Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) measures the benefit from media coverage of a public relations campaign. AVE commonly measures the size of the coverage gained, its placement, and calculates what an equivalent amount of advertising space, if paid for, would cost. 
  • Provide an equivalency report for out-of-market exposure, as determined by standard industry practices. AVE reports can be provided by a third-party hired by the event to track PR.  An internal equivalency report is acceptable if it includes rate-cards and back-up documentation used to determine the valuation. PR clips are not required and only out-of-market information is needed. 

(9)  Event Staff/Board of Directors’ Listing:

This information is only required if you are requesting $2,500 or more in partnership funding.
  • Provide a list of your Board of Directors and executive staff members.

(10)  Previous Year’s List of Event’s Top Five Sponsors:

This information is only required if you are requesting $2,500 or more in partnership funding.
  • List your top 5 sponsors for the 2013 event (contribution amounts are not needed). 
  • Include the top 5 targeted sponsors for your 2014 event.

(11)  Optional - Media Presentation:

Applicants do not appear in front of the funding review panel so a visual presentation could help panel members gain a better understanding of the event, the excitement that surrounds it, as well as its potential impact on the destination. This is especially important for new events or events that may not be as well-known. 
  • You are encouraged to submit a media presentation (ie:  power point, video), not to exceed 5 minutes, to provide a visual representation of the event.
  •  Events may also provide YouTube or website links with their applications so that panel members can familiarize themselves with the event applicants in advance of the review panel meeting.