Sport Events Congress: Behind the Scenes
Cover photo credit to the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance
by Sachin Kotecha
Events, Bidding, and Tournament Manager
I represented Quidditch Canada at our second appearance at the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance’s annual Sport Events Congress last week. The Alliance brings together all of the National Sport Organizations (such as Hockey Canada, Canada Soccer, and of course Quidditch Canada) and the cities across Canada that bid on sporting events. This year’s event took place in Halifax, and Quidditch Canada was chosen to be a part of the Go Congress! program sponsored by Halifax, WestJet, and Nova Scotia, receiving complimentary access to the Congress.
The Congress and the Alliance have helped Quidditch Canada grow our events exponentially over the past three seasons. In this blog, I’ll recap the sessions I attended and the connections I made that will help our sport continue to grow.
The Sessions: I attended two sessions on Day One. The first was about driving maximum sponsorship value and the second was about event risk management in the case that things don’t go as we plan. In the sponsorship session, Swimming Canada was used as a case study as we learned about their rebrand and their tactics to bring on new sponsors. In the risk management session, we heard personal stories about tragedies at events and how emergency preparedness is crucial in these types of situations. At Quidditch Canada, we have an emergency action plan for our Major Events, but their is definitely room for growth in that area; our members’ safety is priority number one.
The Connections: On Day One, I had the opportunity to meet with many sport tourism professionals from across Canada that I have been emailing with over the past three years. It was fantastic to finally make a face to face connection with the people who in some cases became our partners for a successful event, and in other cases are working to put together fantastic bids for our future events. Day One (and Day Two, and Day Three!) was also full of planning for our upcoming #QCNationals2018 in Hamilton, as I met with our partner Tourism Hamilton to continue to plug away at preparations.
The Session: On Day Two, I attended a session about the changing sponsorship landscape. This session helped me get a better idea of the way sponsorship has changed, and what it is exactly that sponsors are looking for. Quidditch Canada currently has several partners, specifically in the Events portfolio, but as you can see from the sponsorship sessions I attended at the conference, it is another area of potential growth for our organization.
The Recognition: The CSTA has an annual slate of awards recognizing the top organizations, events, and volunteers in the sport events industry in Canada. This year, I had the privilege of being selected as a finalist for the Sport Event Volunteer of the Year Award. Robbie Larter of Charlottetown was a phenomenal person to be nominated alongside for her work with the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour and the 2017 World Sledge Hockey Challenge and she took home the award this year. The roomful of sport industry leaders watched a minute-long video about Quidditch Canada, which is most definitely a success in our book.
The Connections: Day Two was the first day of what many consider the highlight of the Congress: the Sport Events Exchange, aka ‘Speed Dating’. Cities from across Canada sign up for quick eight minute appointments with NSOs to discuss the events they have up for bid. Over Days Two and Three I was visited by fifteen cities from across seven provinces. Many of them had their first exposure to quidditch from last year’s Sport Events Congress which was attended by Alex Downey-Ging and Erin McCrady. I would say the highlight that’s worth sharing was my appointment with Events Cape Breton. Going forward, they are excited to work with Quidditch Canada to start teams up all across Nova Scotia and hopefully expand across the Maritimes. The other significant connection we made on Day Two was with an individual with the City of Hamilton and Athletics Canada, who is now working with us to bring local schoolkids in to our National Championship at the end of the month.
The Connections: Day Three was the continuation of the Sport Events Exchange. We’ve got some very exciting bids coming in this year and in the years to come. Our Major Events will continue onwards and upwards for the foreseeable future. While there were lots of great connections at Congress, there’s one missed connection I’m glad of: my flight back home took off just before a slew of cancellations due to snow storms.