I am in Toronto today, and all this week. I have had the pleasure to be part of the Sport Event Congress 2015 yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It is operated by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance. What an amazing event! Very well run, but even more importantly, well attended with great sessions and opportunities. This is my second time attending. I also enjoyed the privilege of speaking at this event in Edmonton last year.
When I look at this event through another window, not as a presenter, but as a sponsorship marketing consultant, it is amazing. The conference is engaging. There is interaction from pre-Congress through to post event. Sponsor signage is not overwhelming, but sponsors are integrated into programing and activities. I had the honor of deliverng a breakout session yesterday entitled “Securing More Money from Sponsorship,” an important topic for all the delegates… both organizations seeking to host sport tourism events, as well as suppliers such as hotels and service companies that make the events happen. The session was well attended as more and more organizations with greater need seek opportunities for sponsorship revenue.
The theme around the Congress this year was the linkage to the 2015 PanAm Games in Toronto. A huge event. Big sponsorships. Big tourism. Huge for sport in Canada. But this conference went a step further. They know who their audience is and there are a huge number of delegates from smaller communities such as Red Deer, Brantford, Sudbury, Nanaimo, Charlettown, Saint John, Grande Prairie, Yorkton, Trois Riviere, Brandon, and others that will never bid on or host an Olympics or Pan Am Games. Stories, speakers, and sessions relating solely to these big events would normally make these smaller communities feel out of scope. But the CSTA and the Sport Event Congress catered to this audience as well. I again had the honor of moderating a panel with folks from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia; Brandford, Ontario; and Fort McMurray, Alberta on “Winning Huge Success from Hosted Events in Smaller Communities.” It was an amazing session with a great deal of interaction and discussion.
On top of all the applicable sessions, the theses, networking, and sponsor interaction, the Congress also hosted with sponsors two amazing social functions outside the venue at a Raptors game and the Ripley Aquarium. These opportunities allowed for further networking and business to be conducted.
Congratulations to Rick Traer and his team at CSTA for another amazing Congress. It was a great example of how to do it right. We look forward to hosting some of the same delegates at the Western Sponsorship Congress™ in Calgary in October.
These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well. Please add your thoughts or comments below. Thank you for reading and your feedback.