When the Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership was formed, bringing together various local business promotion efforts, then-CEO Tom Ingram attempted to bring the Knoxville Sports Corp. under the Chamber umbrella. But Gloria Ray had more political clout and the Sports Corp. evolved into the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation, with its own governing board.
Given Ray’s departure, following revelations she had compensation of over $400,000, will there be a move to bring the KTSC into the Chamber fold? It isn’t likely.
The KTSC is self-governing and has its own revenue stream from the hotel-motel tax. Putting it in the Chamber would just involve a pass-through of the revenue and add a layer of bureaucracy. There also doesn’t seem to be any desire among the Chamber folks to get in the middle of what has been a financial mess.
The Chamber and KTSC also have different missions—the Chamber’s goal is to attract new business and industry while KTSC is a marketing group with the goal of bringing tourists and conventions to town for the short term.
A couple of names have surfaced as suggested locals who could take over KTSC in the wake of Ray’s departure: Randy Vineyard, longtime financial director for the city of Knoxville who recently retired from the Chamber Partnership, could bring fiscal discipline and strict budgeting to the process and would be helpful in getting the financial house in order. Mike Hammond, who has years of promotional experience at WIVK and sister stations, was recently let go by Citadel Communications in a management shake-up. Hammond is also chair of the Knox County Commission. The board has a search process underway.