Danny Corte has heard the question often, so much so the decision was made to answer it publicly: What is the Mobile Sports Authority (MSA) and what does it do?
To answer the question, Corte, the organization’s executive director, has made several radio appearances in recent weeks in an attempt to inform those in the Mobile area of the group’s mission, which is to bring sporting events — and with them, positive economic impact — to the Mobile area. The MSA has even produced radio ads in an effort to get its message out and even to solicit ideas for future events from the public.
Corte said he believes the approach is working. The MSA has produced a busy schedule recently, perhaps its busiest ever, and the aim is to continue to seek and bring new events of all varieties to the area.
“We just finished probably the busiest time in the history of the Sports Authority. From early March to late May we had events just about every weekend,” Corte said. “We’re producing and we’re doing what we’re charged to do. I think there is more attention on the Sports Authority because I believe we’re delivering on what we’re supposed to deliver. We’ve had gymnastics and volleyball here for the first time ever in the last six months and we’ve had fishing and marathons and we’re looking at some other things in the future.
“Anything that brings people to town, we’re trying to bring those events to town. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. If they don’t work, you move on to something else.”
Next week, the MSA will help sponsor the 2015 Cal Ripken 12U Alabama state baseball tournament at Westside Baseball Park. The winner will represent the state in the Southeast Regional tournament to be played in Arkansas in July. On July 18, the group will sponsor the 2015 Dauphin Street Pole Vault, a competition for all ages and skill levels, including Olympic and professional pole-vaulting athletes, on lower Dauphin Street.
The variety of events is a key, Corte noted.
Included in the MSA’s future schedule of events it will sponsor or co-sponsor is the Saraland Super-Reebok Spartan Race on Oct. 17. Corte said the Spartan races — obstacle course races, typically over an eight-mile distance — is gaining strong popularity across the country. He said he is eager to see how the race, which will draw participants not only from the immediate area and state but across the county, will fare locally.
The group is also involved in the Battleship Invitational Rugby tournament and the Bay City Classic youth football tournament in November and the 3v3 Live Gulf Regional soccer tournament, a qualifying event for the Disney 3v3 Soccer World Championships in December.
“If you have an idea for an event, give us a call,” Corte said. “A lot of people don’t know who to call; call us. If a father is at a baseball tournament in Birmingham and he wants to know why that event hasn’t been in Mobile, he should give us a call. It might be something that would work here. That’s the purpose of the commercials and notices on social media and things like that. We’re just trying to get our name out there and let people know, if you have questions or ideas, who to call.”
Corte said some of the events the MSA has brought to the area are events “that fell through the cracks in the past.” He said the goal is to become the central contact point for the county to attract sporting events to the area, as well as being the contact point for those in the area to call if they have suggestions for future events or questions about events.
The MSA was formed in 2008 by the Mobile County Commission, Corte said. The former Mobile Sports Commission was formed by the city in 1998 and disbanded in 2005, he added. The idea was reignited by the county in 2008. Corte has been the group’s executive director since 2011.
“You look at anything that comes across the table or comes across your desk and try to figure out if they would work here,” Corte said. “… We expect the Spartan Race that will be here in October in Saraland is going to be huge; we’re expecting it to bring 2,000 to 3,000 visitors to town.”
Corte said those who wish to offer suggestions for future events are encouraged to contact the MSA office by phoning 251-725-1794 or visiting the group’s website, www.mobilesportsauthority.com.