Members of the Ocean City Tourism Commission unanimously agreed to give a favorable recommendation to the City Council to look into renewing a five-year agreement with the Mid Atlantic Amateur Sports Association (MAASA) this week, though changes needed to be made to even the playing field.
During the commission’s meeting on Monday afternoon, the city’s director of tourism and business development, Tom Perlozzo, said MAASA is a partnership between Ocean City and Worcester and Wicomico counties designed to attract, retain, and build up sporting events in the region.
The city last signed a contract to be part of the association in 2017, and it has until March 1 to either opt out of the agreement with a termination date effective on June 30, 2022.
Part of the contract required Ocean City to pay $6,000 annually and to share the bid fees with the two counties. It also placed MAASA in the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) where bid fees for events were split up so Wicomico received 60 percent, Worcester received 5 percent, and Ocean City received 35 percent.
Perlozzo said a decision to renew the contract was timely because of the potential to get an annual agreement by USSSA and attract more sports to the region.
“I think we definitely need to spread out the contract a little better,” he said. “My recommendation is to continue the contract with some changes.”
Perlozzo also said there are only two events in the area that are considered MAASA.
The rub with the association is the split of how the fees are divvied out, with Wicomico receiving the bulk.
“They aren’t going to support things going to Ocean City and we aren’t going to support things going to Wicomico County,” Perlozzo said.
Currently, the resort area does not have the facilities needed to attract the sporting events.
Ocean City lacks the necessary number of rectangular fields and ball diamonds, Perlozzo said, and right now the big push is to promote the coast.
Mayor Rick Meehan’s support, Councilman Tony DeLuca moved to have Perlozzo work through the contract with MAASA and bring it back to council with changes, like revenue sharing.
“It’s the worst deal of all time,” Councilman John Gehrig said, adding it was bad for both sides and needs to be adjusted. “The more we bring to the region, the better chance we’ll get our share.”