LTVA budget priorities face challenge |

LTVA budget priorities face challenge

by Sally J. Taylor

For the sake of national and international television coverage, should elements of an already lean marketing plan be carved off to ensure major ski and snowboard events at Lake Tahoe?

That’s one question the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority Board of Directors will consider on Thursday.

The board will also consider stepping up the financial commitment to an Internet program at the same time it’s expected to finalize a tight 1998-1999 budget.

The meeting begins at 3 p.m. at Embassy Suites Resort.

Heavenly Ski Resort is negotiating to host a World Cup freestyle event Jan. 22-24 in addition to other events held during the resort’s Winter Celebration.

The proposed LTVA budget includes $85,000 for the celebration, down from $100,000 last year.

Heavenly hopes its funding is kept at historical levels, according to LTVA Executive Director Terry LeBan.

Sierra-at-Tahoe is also looking to pick up its national exposure with such events as Vans Triple Crown of Snowboarding, ESPN Free Ride Snowboard Competition and, the already popular Boarding for Breast Cancer event.

A huge financial commitment by the resorts is needed for such major events and additional funding from the LTVA could help defray the cost of staffing and hosting the crews.

In marketing circles, scenes of Lake Tahoe as the backdrop for events with major national and international television exposure is considered better than thousands of dollars of advertising.

Also at the meeting, MediaWest representatives will ask that the LTVA double its Internet budget. MediaWest, which currently receives $15,000 to maintain the LTVA website, would like an additional $15,000 to increase the exposure for, and links to, the LTVA website.

To add funding for any of these requests, the board would need to decrease funds from some other aspect of the proposed $2.1 million budget. The 1998-1999 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

At risk is the current marketing plan which blends Northern California and Southern California advertising and promotions. Extensive cooperative advertising programs are included with financial commitments from the business community. The plan got a late start this fiscal year and requires a multi-year commitment to determine the program’s effectiveness.

“Obviously, we’d like to be able to do everything but we have a campaign in place this year and we’d like to maintain that campaign as much as possible,” LeBan said. “We’d like to keep our partners’ interest.”

For more information, call the LTVA office at (530) 544-5050.

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