2018 Sport Events Congress In Halifax

Trip Report: 2018 Sport Events Congress in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Posted By On 26 Apr 2018

As a premier venue for world class athletic events and conferences in Vancouver, Conferences & Accommodations at UBC attended the 2018 Sport Events Congress this year in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Our very own Josh Staav, Manager of Venue and Sport Partnerships, shares his experience at the event.

The Maritime hospitality was stereotypically welcoming for the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance’s annual conference, Sport Events Congress (SEC), from March 7-9. It was my first trip to the east coast and I had been looking forward to the opportunity to see a part of Canada I had never seen before. Halifax was a great host city with everything in the downtown area being very walkable (despite the cold temperatures) and SEC being the first national conference being held in the brand new Halifax Convention Centre. The new centre was a spectacular building and will surely play host to many great conferences in the future.

There were 400 delegates from across Canada representing a cross-section of the sports tourism industry, including events rights holders, event suppliers, sponsors, and destinations, including UBC and Vancouver, who I was there to represent. It was a great chance to meet with representatives of National Sporting Organizations who host tournaments and championships across the country every year.

The conference started with a bang (literally) as we were treated to a live performance by the Halifax-based group SQUID, who are made up of five marching band drummers and one bagpipe, who combine to make some pretty awesome and high energy music. Carrying on with the east coast theme, the opening night reception was hosted at the beautiful Alexander Keith’s Brewery right across from the harbour. It was a great night with cheerful maritime music, delicious east coast delicacies, and of course, excellent beer fresh from the source.

The Experiential Huddle workshops were a great way to speak to people in other cities and on how to deal with issues that arise in the sport events industry, such as issues around bidding processes, aligning event stakeholders, and event legacies. It was great to hear other perspectives and from people from all sides of the industry.

The most useful part of the conference, however, was the Sport Events Exchange where we as a Sport Hosting Vancouver delegation were able to ‘speed-date’ with about 15 different sport organizations to hear about their events and see if there were any potential matches for future events. It was a great opportunity to meet the event rights holders and make those important connections.

Throughout the conference we heard from some excellent speakers, including the CEO of the Boston Athletic Association who spoke about the Boston Marathon and the recovery after the tragic bombing in 2013. The conference ended with a presentation from Canada Soccer’s Peter Montopoli about the joint bid from Canada, Mexico, and the US to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Being that it was my first SEC and first conference since starting at UBC in September, I didn’t really know what to expect. I came away from it with a greater understanding of the sports events landscape in Canada and the potential for hosting more great events at UBC. I am so thankful for the opportunity to go and learn and make UBC even more successful in sport hosting!

Take a quick tour of SEC18 by reviewing the video summary of the event.

Author Bio:
Joshua Staav is the Manager of Venue and Sport Partnerships at UBC. He splits his time between the Athletics department and Conferences and Accommodation. New to Vancouver, Josh is enjoying exploring the city and is open to suggestions for new places to explore. If you want to give him a recommendation or host your event at UBC’s great sporting facilities, send him an email at joshua.staav@ubc.ca.