Today’s front page story in The Boston Globe is a perfect example of making sure you have your act together when planning an event. Sail Boston which is a tall ship festival is returning to the city after a nine year break. For those of you outside Boston or the tall ship world this is a big deal. According to the article the event drew 8 million people in 2000 and 6 million in 1992.
As with any event of this size you need to have a close working relationship with the city. Today’s article discusses how Sail Boston passed a deadline on financing costs to the city. The City of Boston wants $2 million for city services including safety and clean-up. As soon as the deadline passed the city said it would not allow the event to happen. Sail Boston returned fire by saying they were coming anyway. The Mayor of Boston Tom Menino then let loose on them and threatened to get the Coast Guard involved. None of this crap is good for Boston or the event. I take fault with both sides on this issue.
When you plan any event big or small you have to “plan”. You need to understand what goes into the event. You need to know who has to be involved and all costs associated with the event. You need to cross every “t” and dot every “i”.
With an event of this size and magnitude of course the City of Boston has to be involved. They really should be a partner with you. Sail Boston is wrong for not having the plan ready for the city by the deadline. Why didn’t they go to the city and ask for more time? The City of Boston needs to understand that money is harder to come by these days. Why won’t they work with the event? The last time the event was held the city contends it was stuck with a $1.6 million bill. I can understand their concern. However, isn’t this event big enough that issues can be worked out?
I go back to my statement that the city needs to be a partner with an event of this size. I believe that both sides need to share in the costs. Mayor Menino doesn’t think that the city should have to spend its money on this event when they are having budget issues. However, how does a city make money? They make it with tax revenues. If several million people come to your city for an event are they not going to spend money? What is the economic impact of this event? Has the City of Boston ever heard the term “it takes money to make money”?
Sail Boston needs to understand they should never let a situation get to this stage. As important as it is to secure the main attraction (the ships), it is also as important to have a deal with the city.
If this event is that big and will bring millions of people into the city maybe all of those that will see revenue from it can share in the costs. What if the chamber, convention bureau, hotel and restaurants associations all chipped in a little money? Would that cover some of the city costs?
This event needs to happen. Stop the fighting and work as a team. Creating and hosting an event of this size in a recession is a win-win for everyone. It will bring millions of people to the city; it will fill up hotel rooms, restaurants, and other attractions. It will provide a low cost entertainment “escape” for families. An event like this is a “stimulus package” for all involved.