Major Sports & Entertainment Events Fund

Overview

Guidelines

I. Purpose

The Major Sports and Entertainment Event Program (the “Program”) was enacted as part of Chapter 61 (House Bill 897) of the Maryland legislative acts of 2022 (the “Act”), as codified in §§ 10-611.1 and 10-611.2 of the Economic Development Article (“ED”) of the Maryland Annotated Code. The purpose of the Program is to (i) attract major sporting events and major entertainment events to the State of Maryland (the “State”); (ii) attract fans, participants, and tourists to the State for major sporting events; (iii) generate positive media coverage for the State; and (iv) generate a positive economic impact for the State.

II. Eligible Events

A. Eligible Events:

As used in these policies, the term “Eligible Event” shall mean a Major Entertainment Event (as defined in Section II.B below) or a Major Sporting Event (as defined in Section II.C below).

B. Major Entertainment Event

Except as otherwise permitted in accordance with Section IV.B below, a “Major Entertainment Event” means an indoor or outdoor event organized for the primary purpose of the entertainment or amusement of people with (a) an expected attendance of at least 20,000 people; (b) a negotiated broadcasting deal with either live or delayed broadcasting; (c) commercial sponsorship opportunities; or (d) a demonstrated positive economic impact for the State. Examples of a Major Entertainment Event include a parade, carnival, fair, festival, concert, exhibition, or show.

C. Major Sporting Event

  1. Except as specifically excluded under Section II.C.2 below or as otherwise permitted in accordance with Section IV.B below, a “Major Sporting Event” means a professional or an amateur sporting event that is sanctioned by a regional, national, or international organization or association with (a) an expected attendance of at least 20,000 people; (b) a negotiated broadcasting deal with either live or delayed broadcasting; (c) commercial sponsorship opportunities; or (d) a demonstrated positive economic impact for the State.
  2. The term “Major Sporting Event” shall not include:
    (a) A professional football game unless the professional football game is either (i) a Super Bowl (i.e. a championship game for the National Football League) or (ii) an exhibition or championship football game for an organization other than the National Football League;
    (b) A professional baseball game unless the professional baseball game is either (i) a Major League Baseball All-Star Game or (ii) an exhibition or championship game for an organization other than Major League Baseball; or
    (c) A professional basketball game.
  3. A professional franchise/team seeking an ancillary event opportunity whereas the profit margin is significant, must show extraordinary measures or unique, event-specific expenses tied to pursuing or holding the event. In addition, the franchise/team must notify the Authority and/or Maryland Sports of the opportunity prior to seeking a funding request

III. Eligible Recipient

As used in these policies, the term “Eligible Recipient” shall mean a nonprofit organization, a for-profit organization, a county of the State, or a business entity that intends to operate, sponsor, and/or provide a location and/or facilities for an Eligible Event.

IV. Funding Request

A. Generally:

To be considered for funding under the Program, an applicant shall submit an application through the chosen grant portal, WizeHize powered by Zengine. After creating a profile, the applicant must first complete the Pre Qualification questions on the application in order to view and edit the application. The applicant shall specify the amount(s) of funds requested as well as other critical information in the application. The application is designed around the evaluation method approved by the Committee, Sports Event Bid Evaluation Tool (“SEBET”).

B. Request to Qualify as an Eligible Event

Request to Qualify as an Eligible Event. If an entertainment or sporting event would not otherwise qualify as an Eligible Event under Section II above, the applicant may request that the Authority deem it an Eligible Event in a written request accompanying its application. In making such request, the burden is on the applicant to justify why the Authority should designate the event as an Eligible Event. The applicant shall state why the event satisfies the purposes of the Program listed in Section I above. The decision as to whether to designate an event as an Eligible Event shall be in the sole and absolute discretion of the Authority, provided that in no event may an event excluded under Section II.C.2 be designated as an Eligible Event.

V. Review Process

A. Review by Maryland Sports

  1. Upon receipt of a written request for funding and completed application, Maryland Sports shall first determine whether (a) the applicant qualifies as an Eligible Recipient, (b) the entertainment or sporting event qualifies as an Eligible Event (which determination shall, if requested, include consideration of whether Maryland Sports would recommend that such event be designated as an Eligible Event pursuant to a request under Section IV.B above), and (c) the application complies with all other requirements of the Program as specified in the Act.
  2.  If Maryland Sports determines that the applicant qualifies as an Eligible Recipient and the event qualifies as an Eligible Event (or that Maryland Sports would recommend that such event be designated as such), then Maryland Sports shall review the application using the Sports Event Bid Evaluation Tool (“SEBET”) or such other evaluation method or tool approved by the Committee.
  3. Following Maryland Sports’ review the application material will be submitted to the Committee for review. All steps are completed within the WizeHize system.

B. Review by the Committee

  1. The Committee shall review each recommendation and supporting materials provided by Maryland Sports pursuant to Section V.A.3 above.
  2. If Maryland Sports recommends denial of the application, the Committee may:
    (a) Accept Maryland Sports recommendation, in which case Maryland Sports shall notify the applicant of such denial and that such denial is the final decision of the Authority; or
    (b) Require Maryland Sports to request additional information from the applicant, reevaluate the application if such additional information is received, and resubmit the recommendation once such reevaluation is complete.
  3. If Maryland Sports recommends approval of the application, the Committee may:
    (a) Accept Maryland Sports recommendation, in which case the Committee shall submit the recommendation and supporting materials to the full Board for consideration at the Board’s next available meeting; or
    (b) Require Maryland Sports to request additional information from the applicant, reevaluate the application if such additional information is received, and resubmit the recommendation once such reevaluation is complete.

VI. Funding

A. Written Agreement Required

Prior to receiving any funds, the approved Eligible Recipient shall enter into a written agreement (Grant Agreement) with the Authority that shall be either (1) on a form previously approved by the Committee, or (2) if the approved terms for the Eligible Recipient and/or Eligible Event cannot be reasonably accommodated by a form agreement previously approved by the Committee, in form and content submitted for review and approval by the Committee prior to execution thereof on behalf of the Authority.

B. Sole Source of Funding

All funding agreements shall specify that (1) the only source of funds to be provided to an approved Eligible Recipient for or in connection with an Eligible Event shall be limited to the money available in the Major Sports and Entertainment Event Program Fund (the “Fund”), and (2) if there is, for any reason, not enough money in the Fund to pay the amounts specified in such funding agreement, neither the Authority nor the State shall be obligated to pay the Eligible Recipient from any other fund or source.

C. Execution of Funding Agreements

Funding agreements shall be executed on behalf of the Authority by the executive director of the Authority unless executive director has designated in writing that the executive director of Maryland Sports and/or the chief financial officer of the Authority may execute such agreements on behalf of the Authority. If the executive director of the Authority delegates authority to execute such agreements, such delegation shall be submitted to and kept with the records of the Committee.

VI. Funding Availability

A. Funding Round

  1. Funding is awarded on a fiscal year basis, July 1, 20XX- June 30, 20XX.
  2. Maryland Sports may award grants for special events outside of normal funding rounds if unusual or extenuating circumstances exist and funds are still available.

B. Grant Disbursement/Requirements.

  • No amount of grant funds will be disbursed until the completion and execution of the grant agreement and required affidavits.
  • No more than 45 days following conclusion of the event, submission of a Close Out or Year End  Report that includes complete and accurate accounting of the event’s financial activity and approved by Maryland Sports;
  • Providing all invoices, receipts and copies of canceled checks, and credit card statements for payment of all approved expenses up to the amount of the approved grant allocation and any other local, organizational, or private funding. All invoices and canceled checks must be in the name of the grantee
  • To expedite final payout, order all receipts in a document (ie Excel). See Tips for details
  • Submission of economic impact data based on criteria established by the Maryland Sports’ economic consultant Crossroads Consulting; and
  • Providing photos, videos, and social and traditional media coverage of any Maryland Sports sponsorship signage or acknowledgment at the event.

Application-Award Overview

  1. Create Profile
  2. Submit Application
  3. Application reviewed by MD Sports
  4. Application reviewed by Committee
  5. Decision of application provided to the MSA BOD at monthly BOD meetings
  6. Decision communicated to Applicant
  7. If awarded funds, Applicant complete Award Documents form via the Grant Portal
    • this includes:
      • Submitting an invoice and w9
      • Contact information for Docusign
      • An outline of expenses
  8. Applicant & MD Sports complete Award Agreements
  9. Following the event, Post Event Report or Year End Report created.