James Belk puts the bat on the balll during the opening day of the Triple Crown World Series in Steamboat Springs on July 21. Belk was playing for the Colorado Crush baseball team out of Fort Collins.

Photo by John F. Russell

James Belk puts the bat on the balll during the opening day of the Triple Crown World Series in Steamboat Springs on July 21. Belk was playing for the Colorado Crush baseball team out of Fort Collins.

Triple Crown sets rule

Sports group wants concessions from property managers


— Triple Crown Sports has enacted a new lodging policy for its 2009 World Series youth baseball tournament in Steamboat Springs, discouraging participants from lodging with properties that do not make concessions to the company.

"To participate in the Triple Crown World Series your team must stay with a Triple Crown Sports preferred lodging partner," reads the policy on Triple Crown's Web site, www.triplecrownsports.com. "Teams that are registered for the event that do not meet the above requirements will not be eligible to participate and will not be scheduled into the event. If you are local, or are requesting an exception to this policy, you may call the : lodging department for approval of alternative lodging request. : Once approved for alternative lodging, your team will be charged a lodging surcharge of $500."

Triple Crown officials say the new policy will result in lower rates and higher convenience for their customers. But some fear it will prevent smaller players from capturing a piece of the Triple Crown market, which is a primary driver of Northwest Colorado's summer economy.

Sean Hardy, Triple Crown's director of major events, said the ability to purchase lodging directly from the company will provide teams with "one-stop shopping" and ease the "overwhelming process of planning a vacation."

"We really wanted to help the customer," Hardy said Wednesday.

Hardy also said the policy will allow Triple Crown to address concerns that lodging prices are jacked up when the sports-tourism company and its participants are in town. "By being successful, sometimes you create a higher price for your customer," he said.

Finally, Hardy said the company needed a way to crack down on property managers who for years have cashed in on the Triple Crown market while offering the company nothing in return.

The company has not yet negotiated any contracts or named any "preferred lodging partners," Hardy said. The criteria to become a partner will vary between lodging properties, Hardy said, and will depend on the property managers' willingness to provide concessions that could include a 10 percent commission similar to that typically charged by travel agents, complimentary rooms for Triple Crown employees and lower rates for Triple Crown customers.

"Every deal's going to be specific," Hardy said. "Everybody has a shot."

David Dillard disagrees. Dillard, who owns and personally manages a collection of Steamboat condos, was alerted to the policy change by a Triple Crown customer who stayed with him this past summer. Dillard said he is not interested in making his condos available to entire Triple Crown teams - one thing the company is looking for - but that he does rent them to individual families.

"It concerns my guests, and therefore it concerns me," Dillard said Wednesday. "We had a lot of guests that booked with us who did not want to stay with the team. : They want to enjoy it as a vacation, and Triple Crown's trying to put an end to that."

Playing ball

Dillard also said that having to pay a commission or make other concessions to Triple Crown would ruin his ability to compete with Steamboat's major property management companies.

"We don't have much of a ceiling there to raise our rates and still get some of the business," Dillard said.

Hardy said the policy is not unreasonable and that people such as Dillard need to decide how valuable Triple Crown business is to them.

"They've been getting our customers and not having to pay anything," Hardy said. "They have to make a business decision on whether that's worth the time and money to market with us."

Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, said that the policy may indeed squeeze out some smaller players, but that it is only fair for lodging operators to play ball with Triple Crown.

"You either get on board and help support it and you get to be one of the properties, or not," she said.

To satisfy the policy, each team must book a minimum of six hotel rooms for five nights or condominium units that total 10 bedrooms for five nights with a preferred lodging partner. Once the requirement is satisfied, remaining members of the teams and their families are free to lodge with whomever they like.

The policy is being enacted nationally.


Matthew Stoddard 8 years, 7 months ago

Marthalee- what do you think keeps businesses open all summer?


mtroach 8 years, 7 months ago

What happens if the none of our management companies are willing to make concessions? Will they hold the tourney, and sleep in their cars? Camping? Reschedule to elsewhere?


Dan Hill 8 years, 7 months ago

I'm dying to find out what the criteria are, so I can ensure that my condo management does NOT comply!


steamboatsprings 8 years, 7 months ago

And Triple Crown wonders why so many people dislike them here? I am an overall supporter of Triple Crown but policies like this that have nothing to do with their customer experience since none of the terms enhance it and only serve to give them a larger cut make them look bad both locally and to their customers they profess such loyalty too. If they were concerned about customer experience they would offer choice, convenience and look at factors other than the bottom line to TC. People would have a better experience and Triple Crown would make more money too but they are too dense to understand that long term profits come from putting your customers first.

I believe that we need to start diversifying our summer economy with additional events and draws to reduce our dependence on Triple Crown and reduce their ability to pull such tricks. This one is bad enough that I think they will see a good drop in participation this year. the problem is they will blame it on something else. Wake up Triple Crown


nodrog56 8 years, 7 months ago

I think that this is just another reason to Rid The Town of Triple Crown (that could make a good bumper sticker). It sounds like more of a dictatorship than a partnership between Triple Crown and the teams that they want to help??? You would think they are still in High School with all of the drama that they seem to injoy generating! I believe that the city would be well served to expand their horizons and draw in more tourism to fill the gap left by Triple Crown when they are (hopefully) gone in a couple of years.


Terry Noble 8 years, 7 months ago

Dictatorship is exactly the word I came up with. Next thing we know Triple Crown will be filling all our council seats and running our town. It's time we decided if this city is going to be "Ski Town USA" or "Triple Crown USA"? Enough is enough! I think our western heritage should be our priority and promote our Rodeo instead of this stream of unruly clowns! There has to be other alternatives that can be explored.


Martha D Young 8 years, 7 months ago

The word extortion comes to mind (obtaining money by abuse or threat), as well as a few less palatable words. TC says build us new fields or else; now they're saying stay at our chosen lodgings and pay us to stay there or else. This is a sports organization purportedly promoting baseball for youth? Sounds like crass commercial maneuvering to me. Since when, Brandon Gee, is Triple Crown "a primary driver of Northwest Colorado's summer economy"? Where are the data that support that outrageous statement? Enough already! Throw the bums out!


Matthew Stoddard 8 years, 7 months ago

My God! Triple Crown is enacting a plan to bring people to Steamboat and putting them at specific properties they book and earn money from it! How dare they?!? Good thing no winter booking companies do that for the groups they bring to Steamboat! LOL!

There you go, Steamboat! Everyone trash-talks about TC and then gets up in arms when they do something that might limit them coming here and specifically limit them to certain companies that WANT their business. If you don't want their business or rely on their business, this shouldn't affect you in the slightest.


Carrie Requist 8 years, 7 months ago

I will profess a fair amount of ignorance about TC, but the policy seems to say that local teams will have to pay a $500 lodging surcharge. Is this correct?


nodrog56 8 years, 7 months ago

I don't care where they stay (if they would act respectful) but I think it is wrong to make them use Triple Crown to book their stay. They should be able to book their own accomodations. At least the winter groups have the choice to book with whatever property management group they might choose without paying someone a $500.00 penalty for the privelage. We (I) do not enjoy Triple Crown being in town because the kids that have stayed in our complex are usually unsupervised, disrespectfull and the adults just come to town to party. The kids practice ball on the tennis courts and any grassy area they can find. They play ball around parked cars and building windows, when asked to stop they just ignore you and keep on playing. This has been a normal occurance for the last four or five years that we have been in town. The adults are nowhere to be found, they could care less about watching the kids except when they are on the diamond playing ball. As always, there are exceptions to the rule but I think we will be better off when they leave for good. If the kids (and adults) were respectful and used common sense about where they practiced and how they behaved I don't believe that you would have nearly as many people complaining about Triple Crown.


Matthew Stoddard 8 years, 7 months ago

Actually- those winter groups go with a specific booking company, who has negotiated rates with property management companies. Should part of the group decide they want to go, but stay elsewhere, they may not get the negotiated rate. That means, there might be the chance they pay more.

Plus, look what they are trying to do for the properties they book with- increase the number of revenue nights. Until the final couple of weeks, most TC teams thru June/July stay an average of 3nts only. (Remember- we just saw that tax revenue went down in an article a few days ago.) This will increase the number of nights they stay with a guarantee for at least a certain amount of rooms. This will be more lucrative to the properties who sign on to it. That means, they're also either buying more groceries to cook in their own unit, or eating out at restaurants a few more times than normal. More people, more tax revenue.

As for a commission, anyone who handles the booking- Travel Agent or Wholesalers- typically get a commission on the booking. That's nothing new- they do the legwork, they should get their cut.


John Nichols 8 years, 7 months ago

Is the tail wagging the dog or the dog wagging the tail?
One more blunder by city council renewing this contract with D. King and Triple crown. Funny how this "Prefered lodging partner" was not mentioned when they were discussing the new contract with City Council. Let's get rid of City Council and Tripple Crown and start anew they seem to be in bed with each other anyway. Let them both stay in "Prefered lodging".


canudigit 8 years, 7 months ago

My kid plays sports all over Colorado and there are some tournaments where we have to book the tournament hotel or not be allowed to play. I don't think what TC is doing is totally out there but, that doesn't mean I like it...


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