A company is born…
Triple Crown Sports® CEO Dave King is a dreamer. He and his wife Annette, avid slow-pitch softball players, had competed in one too many poorly organized tournaments. They were tired of substandard facilities, undesirable awards, lack of professionalism, and poor communication on schedules, weather, and tournament updates. After speaking his mind to a tournament director one weekend, the director shot back with a challenge: “If you think you can do better, why don’t you do it yourself?”
On the long drive home, Dave and Annette started dreaming about the perfect tournament experience. It was in a location that ballplayers and their families would want to visit; it included quality awards, professional staff, and “spin events” for teams to enjoy when not playing ball. Building such an event seemed unlikely…and nearly impossible once they calculated the cost.
In 1982, they decided to give it a try and the first Triple Crown event, a slow-pitch softball tournament, was held in the quaint mountain community of Meeker, CO. The trial tournament had so much success that in 1983 Steamboat Springs and Grand Junction were added to the series. The format led to the name Triple Crown, which was incorporated as Triple Crown Sports in 1987.
The company would evolve from running three slow-pitch softball events in the first few years to more than 100 tournaments by 1991 with 3,000 teams participating. As the Kings began to build a viable business, they wanted to instill family values and create an honest work environment anyone would be proud to join. These core beliefs remain at the foundation of the company to this day.
In 1992, the Triple Crown brand began to grow into additional sports when the Baseball Series and Fastpitch Series were introduced. The company would also begin producing tournaments internationally with events in Australia, Canada, England, Guam, Ireland, and Mexico. Additionally, Triple Crown began producing 3v3 basketball, roller hockey and soccer tournaments, as well as developing USA Sports Rankings.
Over the next 20 years the organization would continue to grow into a thriving and innovative company leading the charge in the youth sports industry. Some of this growth included the decision to televise a handful of elite championship games each year. In 1993, Triple Crown televised its first event on ESPN, a slow-pitch softball championship in Steamboat Springs. In 2004, the company began producing its own broadcasts and six years later created TCTV. That same year it joined forces with CBS Sports Network, resulting in nationally-televised broadcasts and live webcasts of different events each year.
Professional, Predictable, Consistent…
The goal at Triple Crown remains the same as it was in 1982 when Dave and Annette decided to build a better tournament. The company continues to perfect the nuances that come with running a professional and organized tournament. The phrase “Professional, Predictable, and Consistent” was established to ensure teams would get the same experience no matter if they were playing in Myrtle Beach or San Diego.
Triple Crown now manages roughly 300 youth events across the country in baseball, basketball, drift car racing, fastpitch, slow-pitch softball, and volleyball. The company is still family owned and employs nearly 60 full-time staff in its corporate headquarters in Fort Collins, Colorado. Triple Crown hires approximately 400 seasonal employees to facilitate the production of events each year and has individually-owned franchises in territories across the U.S.
Triple Crown also owns and produces college basketball tournaments with the annual men’s and women’s Cancun Challenge in Mexico over Thanksgiving break and the Preseason and Postseason Women’s NIT. The Cancun Challenge is regarded as one of the top preseason Division I basketball tournaments in the country. A few of the past tournament participants include: (Men’s) Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Virginia, VCU, and Wichita State; (Women’s) Arizona State, Baylor, Duke, Iowa, Kansas State, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Purdue. The WNIT was created in 1994 and is the second longest-running postseason event in women’s college basketball history.
Building premium events…
Triple Crown transformed the youth sports market with the creation of premium destination championships. Triple Crown offers major events in multiple sports across the country. These championships are strategically designed for teams to combine a quality tournament experience with a family vacation.
Triple Crown employees work hard to develop events for teams and their families that create life-long memories. Teams attending a Triple Crown national championship will experience more than just a well-organized tournament. Special events like opening ceremonies, All-Star Games, skills challenges, concerts, contests, live webcasts, and nationally televised games create a festival atmosphere and provide countless activities for teams to enjoy when not at the ball field, gym, or race track.
The company prides itself on producing highly-organized and professionally-produced tournaments while delivering exceptional communication to coaches, players, and parents. With a sophisticated web platform and mobile website, Triple Crown makes it easy for teams to receive game schedules, weather updates, and seedings before and during tournament play. Triple Crown’s real-time technology and tools allow coaches and parents to receive updated information from the dugouts and bleachers during an event on their smart phones and other mobile devices.
The future is bright for Triple Crown Sports. The company will continue to grow in the coming years with the addition of new national championships, exciting and innovative spin events, and the persistent drive to improve current tournaments for coaches, players and families. While Triple Crown is no longer a Mom ‘n’ Pop operation, it still carries the core family values and beliefs that Dave and Annette embraced in 1982.