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September 2014

ACO Championships of Cornhole Heads to Knoxville, TN

By | ACO News (from the ACO) | No Comments

THE AMERICAN CORNHOLE ORGANIZATION WILL HOST THE ACO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS OF CORNHOLE X IN KNOXVILLE, TN

Cornhole players of all skill levels will compete for multiple Titles on the sport’s biggest stage

Knoxville, TN – The American Cornhole Organization (ACO) will host the ACO World Championships of Cornhole X July 7 – 11th, 2015 at the Knoxville Convention Center in Knoxville, TN.

“We are very excited to be partnering with a great city, Knoxville, TN, to host the ACO World Championships of Cornhole X in July, 2015,” stated Frank Geers, President of the ACO. “This is going to be a monumental Cornhole event. The Knoxville Convention Center is situated in the heart of the city and will be the perfect venue, and with newly added Events, and our Membership base growing daily, it promises to be a great 5 days of Cornhole.”

“With the growth of cornhole popularity around the world, Visit Knoxville is excited to assist in hosting this tournament,” said Kim Bumpas, President Visit Knoxville. “We are proud to add American Cornhole to our list of event competitions being scheduled for the summer of 2015. We will be encouraging the community and visitors to enter and be spectators.”

The ACO World Championships is open to all players of every skill level and will feature the most coveted Title in the Sport: the ACO World Singles Title, the crowning of the single best player in the World, if male “King of Cornhole,” and female the “Queen of Cornhole”. Other notable Title tournaments held will include the World Doubles Championship, the World Slyder Cup, the King of Sling, and the World Social Doubles.

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The ACO has added some great new features that will engage more players and fans:

First, is the addition of the World Slyder Cup (a 5 person team competition), which will be open to all players.
“We are very excited to be adding the World Slyder Cup to this year’s Worlds,” added Geers. “The concept of the team challenge has been something the ACO has been discussing for years. We just wanted our timing to be right to launch the concept, we believe our players are finally ready, so we decided that Season X would make the perfect season to add this activity to the lineup.”

Second, the ACO will be making a major change to the previous tournament known as the King of Cornhole tournament which crowned the single best player in the World. Moving forward the event will be called the World Singles Championships that will be open to all male and female players who qualify. The winner of the tournament will be crowned either the King of Cornhole if a male or Queen of Cornhole if a female wins the title. This means that in each year only one player can be crowned the single best player in the world, male or female.

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“It’s only a matter of time before the ACO crowns a female player as the best cornhole player in the world, maybe this is the year,” said Eric Hinerman, Director of Certified Officials for the ACO. “It really wasn’t going to make sense for a female to win the World Singles Title and be crowned King of Cornhole.”

Third, the ACO has been working to make the overall experience for players, fans and sponsors better each World Championships, this season is no exception. We are proud to introduce the first ever Tailgate Tradeshow, featuring all types of businesses and products centered around the tailgating world. “Cornhole is the number one game activity while tailgating. So we thought why not bring tailgating to the number one cornhole event on the planet, the ACO World Championships of Cornhole? The idea made too much sense not to move forward with it, so we are,” stated Frank Geers. “In time we hope to develop the Tailgate Tradeshow into a huge part of the ACO Experience.”

ACO officials expect to have 700+ players from 25+ States participating in the 5 day event. For more information and to learn how you can you can participate, visit AmericanCornhole.com

 

If you’re interested in sponsorship opportunities here are a few of the featured sponsorships available:

• State Championships Qualifier
• Places to Play Qualifiers (bars, restaurants, sports complexes, VFW Halls, etc…)
• Title Sponsorship
• Zone Sponsorships
• Court Sponsorships
• Equipment Sponsorships (score keepers, carpets)
• Official Category Sponsorship (beverage, snack, hotel, etc…)
• T-shirt Sponsorship
• Program Sponsorship
• Booth Sponsorships

Please Contact Frank Geers, President of the American Cornhole Organization at 888-563-2002.

ABOUT AMERICAN CORNHOLE, LLC
The American Cornhole, LLC was established in 2005 and headquartered in Milford, Ohio. American Cornhole Organization (ACO) is the governing body for the sport of cornhole, offering official cornhole rules, certified products, tournament listings, comprehensive information about cornhole events, and an ACO Certified Official Program that brings awareness of the sport to localized markets.
For more information about the ACO or Frank Geers or go online at www.AmericanCornhole.com

ABOUT VISIT KNOXVILLE
Visit Knoxville (Knoxville Convention and Visitors Bureau) is the official CVB for the City of Knoxville and Knox County. Visit Knoxville is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, private company that works together with the community, business leaders and local and state government to further develop Knoxville as a premier leisure, meetings and travel destination.

ACO Pecan Classic Features $1,500 in Prizes

By | ACO News (from the ACO) | No Comments

ACO is headed to the Pecan Festival for the first ever ACO Pecan Classic

Cornhole players from around the region will compete for $1,500 in prizes

The American Cornhole Organization (ACO) will host its inaugural ACO Pecan Classic November 1, 2014 in Florence, South Carolina.

The ACO Pecan Classic doubles cornhole tournament is a new addition to the Pecan Festival held annually in Florence, South Carolina.

It will feature a day filled with game challenges, Luck of the Draw tournaments, food, music and fun. It will also include the ACO Pecan Classic, a double elimination doubles tournament with $1,500.00 in prizes.

The South Carolina Pecan Festival began in 2004 as a way to bring people to downtown Florence and to bring our community together and give local vendors a place to showcase their talent and goods.

The festival is on the first Saturday of November each year, with 8 stages of live entertainment, over 250 Arts and Crafts, and Food Vendors, the Run Like a Nut (5k, 10k, and Half Marathon) and the Bike Like a Nut event.

Other events include a Classic Car Show, the Free “Kids Fun Zone,” Amusement Rides, ScienceSouth on Wheels, an Antique Tractor Show, the Pecan Cook-off, Downtown Farmers Market, Art Trail on Evans, the “Act Like A Nut” Talent Show, and 5 Beer Gardens.

The cornhole tournament entry fee is $40.00 in advance $60.00 at the door if space is available.

Participation is limited to the first 100 teams to register online at AmericanCornhole.com under the tournaments tab. The tournament is open to non ACO Members but memberships are available for purchase for $25.00 at www.AmericanCornhole.com.
The Luck of the Draw tournaments and game challenges are pay as you go activities that are open to the public both Friday and Saturday, spectators are FREE and welcome to the event.

 

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ACO officials expect as many as 100 to 150 just to participate in the first ever ACO Pecan Classic being held at the Pecan Festival in Florence, SC.

“We’re extremely excited to have launched the ACO Pecan Classic with Florence and believe that this event is going to be a great addition to the Pecan Festival and will become a staple to the happening for years to come,” says Frank Geers, President of American Cornhole, LLC.

The first place team will win $250.00 and a custom made ACO Pecan Classic Prize Jersey. The first and second place teams will also qualify to compete in the World Slyder Cup, July 8, 2015 in Knoxville, TN. The top four teams will each win a one night stay at the Holiday Inn World Fair Hotel in Knoxville, TN during the week of July 7-11, 2015. Prizes are part of the celebration of the ACO World Championships of Cornhole X taking place in Knoxville, TN during the summer of 2015.

There are local, regional and national sponsorship opportunities, contact the ACO at 888.563.2002 or e-mail play@americancornhole.com

About the American Cornhole Organization

American Cornhole, LLC was established in 2005 and headquartered in Milford, Ohio. American Cornhole Organization (ACO) is the governing body for the sport of Cornhole, offering official Cornhole rules, certified products, tournament listings, comprehensive information about Cornhole events, and an ACO Certified Official Program that brings awareness of the sport to localized markets.

About Florence, South Carolina

Florence is conveniently located at the intersections of 1-20 and 1-95. Florence offers a wide range of dining, including several national franchises, and spectacular local cuisine. There are nearly 5,000 quality hotel rooms, unique shopping and a variety of fine restaurants, all served up with a relaxed, easy going style. This thriving area still retains her southern charm and heritage. Nestled near the Pee Dee River and surrounded by scenic farmland vistas, Florence also offers a wonderful array of outdoor recreational activities, including great golf, river expeditions and a variety of beautiful parks.

 

Pitching Cornhole to a Higher Level

By | ACO News (from the ACO) | No Comments

The ACO would like to thank all the great members who have helped pitch those bags to a higher level and bring cornhole to bigger and better things.

As we move into ACO Season X, the ACO would like to share some insights on past decisions and steps as we head to the future.

As many players and spectators know, the ACO has lofty goals:

1) Increase the sports awareness by getting on television
2) Host the biggest tournaments
3) Have the largest payouts

Not everyone agrees on the methods we are using to achieve these goals, but we have a plan, will adjust it accordingly, and most importantly we will never give up. We are Cornhole!

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Feature Sport on TV

When we started this business nearly 10 years ago, most people laughed and felt that cornhole would never make it on TV. We disagreed. Sure, we can’t reasonably expect to be featured weekly on primetime TV but there are a number of non-traditional sports who have found a niche and get plenty of exposure. In the past few years alone, we have had a number of players and events taped on sports channels like ESPN. Our most recent World Championship was covered on SportsCenter in much the same way other sporting events get covered. We’ve seen coverage in magazines like ESPN and have had a player honored by TOPPS with a sports card. Interest from nontraditional sports channels like MTV shows the growing popularity and potential of the game and its players.

Biggest Tournament, Biggest Payouts

The ACO wants to host tournaments with large prize payouts because the best players should be rewarded for being the best. Plus, it adds to the overall drama and pressure of matches, which is great for spectators. In fact, in the past five years, the ACO has paid out just over a quarter of a million dollars in prizes. But getting that money is very tricky, as many other tournament coordinators can testify. There are two ways to get prize money for a tournament:

1) Player funded in which the prize money is included in the entry fee cost putting the burden on the players
2) Sponsorship in which someone agrees to provide the money to be used as prize money

Over the years we have seen that the first option doesn’t consistently build participation. To make purses large, and to cover expenses, entry fees generally have to be higher. Players without a reasonable expectation of earning any money back quickly decide to stop playing.

The second option is to find businesses or sponsors who will provide the prize money. The problem with this option is that these sponsors want a return on their investment. Whether that return is in the form of food and beverage sales, eyes on their product, people spending money in their establishment or buying hotel nights in their town, there is ALWAYS an expectation of return on sponsored dollars.

So what can we offer a sponsor so that they can get a return on their money? Our biggest asset is our people. People whose passion is Cornhole and will stay in their hotels and frequent their establishments and purchase their products. The people are not just the players but also the spectators supporting their favorite player. Guaranteeing sponsors a number of players and getting them to actually show up is also quite a challenge. When you think about the prize money as a sponsor’s investment, you will understand that a $20,000 purse doesn’t make economical sense for tournaments of 100 players. Sponsors will quickly decide to spend their $20,000 on some other form of promotion.

So how do we build that system and get the number of players to tournaments to make it worthwhile for sponsors? We are doing it through our awesome group of ACO Certified Officials. Every Certified Official group that we add equals a handful of new players that will attend one or more tournament throughout the season. It’s a simple formula: Certified Official groups = players at ACO tournaments = sponsored dollars. We’ll keep adding all the tools possible to make it easier to add Certified Official groups and make the role more desirable.

Worlds IX payout

As we add Certified Official groups, we are truly getting to a point where it makes more sense for sponsors to consider us, but potential sponsors either want to see historical numbers or see potential for growth in the future. Because our numbers at our previous two World Championships (VII & VIII) remained flat at around 220, it was difficult to demonstrate the growth potential.

So, during this past season and World Championships, we had to do something to reverse the trend and make sponsors start looking our way. At the beginning of last season, we made an aggressive move aimed at showing a growth in participation at the Worlds IX in Charleston.

We decided to make it easier for players to come to the Worlds by forgoing almost all registration dollars. In support and partnership with our Certified Official group, we included 10 Golden Tickets as part of their CO Package. The intent was for them to use these 300 tickets to promote the product in their respective regions and encourage participation in the various tournaments.

Although we had yet to identify a sponsor, we needed to establish a prize purse. We established a purse of $10,000. The idea was that as participation increased, a company would be willing to sponsor the event. Although a number of organizations expressed an interest, without a history of history of high participation, no sponsor committed. In the end, revenue from tickets sales only generated $550. With the purse to cover as well as operating expenses, we had a short-fall of capital. As we recover and generate revenue through our merchandise, we will make all winners whole as quickly as possible. We are Cornhole!

The Good News

We needed the gamble to increase participation to pay off and it did. Participation at the Worlds IX was up 40% from the previous World events. Armed with those statistics, we were able to sell cornhole to our sponsors.

For the first time we had multiple cities bid to bring our ACO World Championships to them. In the past, we were happy with finding any venue that would be large enough to host us. Because of the higher interest, we were able to secure a sizable starting cash prize for the Worlds X.

We will continue to make efforts to increase the purse throughout the season, but the ACO can no longer afford to shoulder prize payouts without having it have a sizeable impact on the entry fees. Because we know that approach is not successful, we will have all future prize purses come directly from the sponsors. At the completion of payment for the World IX players, all future payments will be made quickly as they will be sourced through sponsorship.

To all the players who have supported us and came out to the Worlds, thank you. Without your participation and passion for the game, we would not have been able to accomplish this important goal and take the next crucial step in our growth. With every player who participates in an upcoming ACO event and every spectator who attends, we inch even closer. Together we will pitch the game to a higher level.

Because of your efforts, we are excited to announce that the World Singles Champion at the ACO World Championships of Cornhole X, whether it be a King or a Queen, will walk away from the Knoxville Convention Center July 11, 2015 with a $10,000 check in their hand, thanks to Visit Knoxville!

We’re getting there, together!

We are Cornhole.

GAME ON!