Winston-Salem rolled out the red carpet this past summer for a group of sports media writers and their guests. In fact, more than 700 attended the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) annual awards event. The Winston Cup Museum got to be a part of it by hosting the welcome reception on day one of the multi-day event.

Dave Goren, Executive Director of NSMA shared some of the details of this year’s event – as well as the group’s experience with the reception held at our museum.

“We loved our experience at the Winston Cup Museum,” shared Goren.

“It was fun for me to see the looks on people’s faces as they admired the race cars. It was also fun to see them scan the walls and look at the photos that tell the story of two generations of Winston Cup racing. For those who have covered the sport, it meant one thing. To those who had never covered it, it meant another. I only wish more people had arrived in town by then to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Goren would love to have the museum be in the rotation of venues for welcome receptions and/or after parties…and even other events held outside of the awards weekend.

Impressions of Winston-Salem

The majority of the event attendees had never been to Winston-Salem. So they got a “fresh-eyes” look at our city.

“I think they were favorably impressed with just how much there is to do and see here. We keep them pretty busy during the awards weekend, but some people take the time to get out and see the sights,” said Goren.

One of the most-repeated comments heard was how easy it is to get around the city. This was one of the reasons NSMA scheduled as many events as possible within walking distance of the hotel. Because the location was so favorable, the 60th NSMA awards weekend will be held back in Winston-Salem.

Highlights of the awards weekend

June 21 – The Ann Spencer Sports Connector Award
This event drew more than 320 to the Benton Convention Center to honor the award’s namesake and its first winner, the late Dr. Harold Pollard. Pollard was a well-known supporter of tennis, who brought tennis events to Winston-Salem. The event raised more than $100,000 for the NSMA’s programs, including the Ann Spencer Fund and the Harold Pollard Fund, which will help college students attend the NSMA Sports Media Convergence Summit each year. 

June 24th – Interact Sports Medicine Summit
The Wake Forest Baptist Health Sports Medicine hosted an interactive sports medicine summit with members of Wake Baptist’s sports medicine doctors, athletic trainers and other personnel. The NSMA winners and guests learned about concussion protocol, knee injuries, helmet fitting and spine/neck injuries. Many participated in hands-on drills, learning how medical, athletic training and emergency personnel spine board athletes with potential spine or neck injuries. 

June 24 – Legacy Night
This event, featuring the Roone Arledge Award for Innovation, was held at the Benton Convention Center. The award was presented to Jimmy Rayburn, COO of Raycom Sports. In a panel, Rayburn and other employees discussed the history and innovation of Raycom Sports, which became the largest syndicator of college football and basketball.

June 25 – Sports Media Convergence Seminars
Two dozen of the industry’s top professionals presented to more than 100 mostly college students. The presenters included 2017 National Sportscaster of the Year Kevin Harlan, play-by-play announcer for CBS, Turner and Westwood One, Wes Durham radio play-by-play announcer for the Atlanta Falcons and tv play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports South and Raycom, and Michelle Butt, news director at WXII-TV.

June 25 – 59th Awards Banquet
The pinnacle of the NSMA weekend included the awards banquet, which saw Thomas Boswell, Dick Weiss and the late Woody Durham being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Awards were also presented for National Sportscaster of the Year, College Sportscaster and Basketball Coaches of the Year.

The future of NSMA events

Goren anticipates continuing to grow the annual awards event, as long as the funding is there. His hope is that with many of the venues that were used in Winston-Salem, there is room to increase the number of attendees. In addition to the Ann Spencer Award, which was new this year, Goren would like to add to our inventory of events, some in Winton-Salem, and some in other parts of the country.

Our museum hopes to be a part of more NSMA events in the future – and welcomes this group of sports media folks any time!

Want a little more background on the NSMA event? Check out the article we shared this past summer on NSMA.

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