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Special Event Programs


2017 Special Event Partnership Funding

Applications for 2017 funding have closed. Please check back in August 2017 for information regarding the 2018 funding program. In the meantime, if you have questions, scroll down for program contact information. 

The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) facilitates a Special Event Partnership Funding program for annual special events.  Submissions are accepted once a year (in the Fall) for events that take place in the subsequent calendar year.  Events occurring in calendar year 2017 may submit an application for consideration beginning September 6, 2016. There is $500,000 available in the Special Event program for possible distribution.
Events interested in submitting an application for consideration should review program details and attachments below. Submission of an application does not guarantee that Partnership Funding will be awarded.   The final deadline for submitting an application and supplemental documents is 2:00pm (PST), Thursday, November 3, 2016

Eligibility Guidelines, Program Goals:

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 transient lodging taxes and surcharges generated when paid lodging is utilized in Washoe County.  Therefore, Partnership Funding is earmarked for events that occur in Washoe County and have a history of, or the potential for, attracting overnight visitors to Washoe County. The program is a marketing opportunity, providing a financial resource for events to broaden their advertising and promotional efforts (to potential out-of-market visitors) that would otherwise not be possible. Partnership Funding is not intended to supplement event production expenses or to augment net income. 
If an event occurs outside of Washoe County, it may be considered in the following situation:
  • Event is in close proximity to Washoe County and occurs in a location without significant commercial lodging. Washoe County lodging facilities are promoted as the primary bed base for the event and receive significant room nights as a result.
The RSCVA supports special events because events can:
  • Generate new incremental room nights at desirable rates for Washoe County lodging properties.
  • Create positive awareness and motivate travelers to visit the destination through out-of-market advertising or social media.
  • Increase repeat visitation - visitors who come to the destination for an event and have an enjoyable experience may be more likely to return in the future.
  • Enhance the RSCVA's destination branding and communications for Reno Tahoe USA.
The goals of the RSCVA Special Event Partnership Funding program include:
  • To support new events that will grow to be future Legacy events for the destination.
  • To provide resources for special events to increase their out-of-market promotional efforts to potential visitors.
  • To assist special events to grow and realize their full potential in room nights and brand awareness.
  • To enhance the positioning of the cities of Reno, Sparks, Incline Village/Crystal Bay and Washoe County as a more attractive place to live, work and play.
  • To extend the special event season and fill holes in the annual calendar of major special events.
The RSCVA reserves the right to determine if a special event qualifies to apply for Partnership Funding.  If an event is uncertain about whether they would be considered, please consult with the Special Events & Marketing Manager prior to submitting an application. The following guidelines may assist in determining applicability:
  • Only the principal producing entity of a specific event can apply for funding consideration. Likewise, only one organization will be considered for funding on behalf of any single event.
  • Venues do not qualify for funding consideration regardless if their intent is to provide supplemental marketing support for one or more events taking place at their facility. However, if a venue is the principal producing entity of a specific special event, they may submit an application for funding consideration. 
  • The event currently promotes, or desires to promote, to potential out-of-market, overnight visitors (spectators and/or participants) and is not primarily an activity for local residents.
  • The event can generate overnight visitors for Washoe County lodging entities.
  • The event is fundamentally not a conference, meeting, trade show, workshop or expo.
  • The RSCVA will not be the sole/primary revenue source for the event. The event is not contingent upon receipt of RSCVA Partnership Funding to occur.
  • The event's Partnership Funding request does not exceed 25% of the overall event budget; awarded funds will be used to enhance advertising, marketing and event promotion.
  • The event is/will occur annually in the destination.  The event does not intend to take place one-time only.  The event does not have a term limit regarding the number of years that it can/or will be held in the destination.
  • The event is open to the general public (spectators), promotes attendance to spectators, and does not require the general public (spectators) to purchase a membership, conference registration or annual dues to spectate. Spectator ticket charges are acceptable for gated events.
  • The event capacity is not limited to a small number. It is able to accommodate hundreds (or thousands) of spectators. 
  • 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: cash/in-kind sponsorship, room block, special room rate, venue location or marketing/promotional assistance. (Requests less than $1,000 require only a single property partner).

Submitting an Application:

BEFORE preparing the funding application, events are strongly encouraged to read the two documents below entitled “Getting Started" and "Application Explanations." Information includes: instructions on opening the .pdf application, general program review, clarifications for specific application questions, descriptions of the required supplemental documents and application submission checklist.
The application is a .pdf file format. Hand written submissions will not be accepted. All questions must be answered, unless otherwise indicated.  In addition, applicants must submit certain supporting documents to supplement their application.

Getting Started            Application Explanations

Application Deadlines:
The completed application and all required supplemental documents must be submitted by the final deadline in order to be considered.  If an applicant’s event occurs immediately before (or after) the application deadline, information from the previous year can be provided in lieu of the current year's information. 
Early Application Option:
5:00pm (PST), Monday, October 3, 2016

The optional early application submission opportunity could be helpful for events that have not previously submitted a Partnership Funding application and would like to receive feedback. To participate in the early submission option, events must submit their "trial" application and supplemental documents by Monday, October 3, 2016 (5:00pm PST). RSCVA staff will review the submission, then provide feedback and guidance, allowing ample time for the applicant to modify and resubmit their application by the final deadline of November 3, 2016.

Participating in the early application option does not imply an event will receive a favorable funding allocation recommendation. Staff review and feedback is only provided to events that submit by the early application deadline.
Final Application Deadline:
2:00pm (PST), Thursday, November 3, 2016

The final deadline for submission of an application and all supporting documents is Thursday, November 3, 2016 (2:00pm PST). Supplemental information and documents will not be accepted after the deadline. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit 1-2 days prior to the final deadline to minimize the risk of a late submission due to computer malfunctions, email transmission difficulties or US Postal Service delays.  Applications and supplemental materials will not be accepted after the final deadline.
The RSCVA Special Events Manager will meet with an event at any time to discuss the Partnership Funding program as well as the submission process.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to confirm with the
Special Events & Marketing Manager that their application and supporting documents were successfully received by the deadline.
Applications and supplemental documents can be submitted electronically or hard copy.
Note: incoming emails to the RSCVA are limited to 5MB.
Large files or numerous attachments may necessitate multiple emails.

Nina Brown
RSCVA Special Events & Marketing Manager

4001 South Virginia Street, Suite “G”
Reno, NV 89502-6019
PO Box 837
Reno, NV  89504
Office: 775-827-7721

Partnership Funding Timeline, Insurance, Payment Schedule:

  • Monday, October 3, 2016 (5:00pm PST):  Optional Early Submission Deadline
  • Thursday, November 3, 2016 (2:00pm PST):  Final Deadline for Application Submission
  • December 2016:   Evaluation of All Applications
  • January 2017:  Funding Recommendations Presented to RSCVA Marketing & Sales Committee for Review
  • January 2017:  Funding Recommendations Presented to RSCVA Board of Directors for Possible Approval
  • 2017 (ongoing):   Contracts Prepared for 2017 Funding Recipients
If Partnership Funding is approved, the event will be required to sign an RSCVA contract agreeing to the terms and conditions of the partnership which includes the sponsor amenities to the RSCVA, issue a General Liability Insurance Policy naming the RSCVA as additional insured ($1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 general aggregate) and provide an Additional Insured Endorsement.
Partnership funding awards 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 two or more Washoe County lodging partners/sponsors.  The remaining 50% payment will be made after the event takes place, subject to completion of contractual agreements, sponsorship amenities and a post-event report to the RSCVA. 

Evaluation Process:

Failure to submit all of the required information and documents by the final application deadline will result in disqualification. Submitting an application does not guarantee Partnership Funding will ultimately be awarded.
All applications will be evaluated at a closed-door review session. Funding allocation recommendations will be based on: information provided in the application and supplemental documents, how event compares to other category applicants, the amount of funding available versus the total number of applicants, and the destination's current situation analysis.  Events will only be compared against other events in their respective category (Emerging, Established, and Legacy).  Because applicants do not attend the evaluation session, it is imperative that their application and supplemental material communicate complete and accurate information. The funding allocation recommendations will then be presented to the RSCVA Marketing & Sales Committee for review and discussion and ultimately to the RSCVA Board of Directors for possible approval. 
Recommendations are based on qualitative, rather than quantitative analysis which include the following considerations: 
•    Application:
Is the application complete; were all questions answered and required information provided? Was the submitted information reasonable, viable and convincing?

•    Event Dates:
Does event occur in a "need" period or during an already busy visitor season? Would the absence of the event adversely affect lodging occupancy?

•    Annual Occurrence:
Does event have potential for longevity? Is there a term limit regarding the number of years that event can/will be held in the destination? Will the event be held annually?

•    Attendance:
What is event attendance, including participants (if applicable) and spectators? What percentage of attendance is estimated to be locals versus out-of-market visitors? Can event expand upon their current attendance or are there short-term capacity concerns?

•    Room Nights:
What are room night projections? Is there a potential for growth in overnight stays with additional marketing efforts? Is the funding request reasonable compared to the room nights that can be generated as a result?

•    Uniqueness and Appeal:
Is event unique and/or iconic to the destination? Are there similar events in primary visitor markets? Would the event appeal to potential visitors? Does it have prospect for growth and long term sustainability?

•    Washoe County Affiliation:
Does event occur in Washoe County or demonstrate the ability to generate room nights in Washoe County? If event occurs outside of Washoe County or takes place in multiple locations (in and out of Washoe County), does it generate significant room nights in Washoe County and promote Washoe County as the primary bed base?

•    Out-of-Market Awareness:
Does event have the ability to generate out-of-market awareness for the destination that increases the likelihood of attracting overnight visitors? (Awareness can be in the form of traditional advertising, social media, web-based efforts or PR equivalency). Does it support Reno Tahoe USA branding and messaging?

•    Financial:
Is event financially stable? Is the funding request less than 25% of the event’s cash operating budget? Is event dependent on RSCVA funding in order to occur?  In the case of a new event, does it have a realistic plan to sustain through “year one” (such as revenue and expense projections, marketing plan, estimated attendance and room nights). 

•    Funding Use:
Does RSCVA funding make a difference? Did event provide details about how RSCVA Partnership Funding would augment their marketing, advertising and promotional efforts? Would a reduced award, or no award, negatively impact event’s ability to maintain or grow their promotional efforts?

•    Lodging Partnerships:
Will event establish partnerships with at least two Washoe County lodging properties (in the form of room block, sponsorships, venues or marketing support)? Are lodging partners acknowledged and promoted on event's website?

•    Television or Webcast Affiliation:
Will event air on network TV, cable TV or Webcast as a scheduled broadcast? Is the broadcast professionally produced and does it positively highlight the destination?

•    Sponsor Amenities:
Can event extend sponsorship amenities to the RSCVA that provide an opportunity to broaden its own marketing and sales efforts?

•    Facility/Venue:
Does event take place in an RSCVA facility? If so, does it receive facility concessions?

•    Event Producer/Promoter:
Does event have professional, turnkey management? Is it produced by paid staff or by volunteers?


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