Big 12 Conference cities form CVB alliance

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WACO, Texas -- If you're an avid follower of collegiate athletics, you know the Big 12 Conference.

However, you might not have heard of the Big XII Convention and Visitor Bureaus, a marketing alliance of CVBs.

The CVBs of the athletic conference's cities came together four years ago when four Texas universities joined what was then the Big 8 to form the Big 12.

Composed of the heads of the 12 CVBs, the group promotes to the meetings market with the tag line "A Dozen Desirable Destinations" and meets twice a year.

The Big 12 features university cities in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

"Some cities are small, others much bigger, but we all have benefits for the meetings market that other cities don't have," said Liz Taylor, who chairs the group and is the director of the Waco (Texas) CVB.

The alliance, she said, "provides a marketing opportunity we would not otherwise have. The cost of trade shows is too prohibitive to participate in alone."

Taylor also explained that the alliance has brought cities and their universities closer together and, for the colleges, has opened up new meetings markets in addition to athletic and academic conferences.

"But the big advantage for us is the meetings leads we get at shows," she said.

Taylor pointed to the range of the colleges' architectural styles, their hometown but sophisticated atmosphere and the prevalence of high-tech meeting facilities as attractions for meetings planners.

University facilities include auditoriums, arenas, athletic centers, conference centers, classrooms and residence halls.

Iowa State University at Ames, for example, with Greek and Roman architectural influences, offers 22 meeting rooms ranging up to 10,760 square feet.

Other examples:

  • The University of Colorado at Boulder, which features elements of Oxford and Cambridge universities in its design, includes a 2,000-seat concert hall.
  • The University of Oklahoma at Norman, with a meeting facility recently renovated in its original Gothic style, includes a 6,500-square-foot ballroom.
  • The Georgian-style Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, one of the smallest cities in the conference with a population of 40,000, has an 81-room hotel and conference center on campus.
  • The Stillwater CVB has placed links on its Web site, at www.come2stillwater.com, to the other 11 CVB sites.

    Other CVB members and their respective universities are:

  • In Texas, Austin CVB (University of Texas), Lubbock CVB (Texas Tech University), Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce (Texas A&M University) and Waco CVB (Baylor University).
  • In Missouri, Columbia CVB (University of Missouri).
  • In Kansas, Lawrence CVB (University of Kansas) and Manhattan Chamber of Commerce (Kansas State University).
  • In Nebraska, Lincoln/Lancaster County CVB (University of Nebraska).
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