Certified Sports Event Executive

Looking for an edge in sports tourism? One way to show the world you’re bringing your A game is to prove it with a qualification like the internationally recognized Certified Sports Event Executive (CSEE) credential. 

CSEE is administered by the U.S.-based National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC), and is “the only recognized designation in the industry specifically for sports events and tourism,” says NASC vice-president, Elizabeth Young. “It says you’re capable of leading a sports tourism organization, department or events.”

Established in 2002, the program focuses on the skills needed to become more effective and efficient in successful bidding and then executing sport events, adds Young.

To earn the designation, a participant must complete three sports tourism courses (strategic planning for sports tourism, effective selling and communications in sports tourism), as well as eight electives ranging in content from developing community support and event management to marketing and promotion. For recertification, CSEE graduates must complete at least one course annually.

Shelley Crawford, Tourism Toronto’s account director, sport, became the first Canadian to earn the designation nine years ago. “When I started, our focus was to promote the hotels on the weekends, and sports fit the bill,” Crawford says. “To be able to take educational courses specifically focused on that was phenomenal.”

In 2015, NASC established a partnership with Ohio University to provide expertise in the development of online live courses. Crawford is happy about the affiliation with the university. “The courses aren’t fluff, they’re university-level modules with solid information.”

Crawford says that, for her, getting the certification was a game changer. “It’s given me an excellent perspective on the sports industry, and I’ve been able to take examples from the course and apply them,” she says.

Having this informational connection to an American organization has enabled Crawford to identify coming trends. “The trends always start in the States and filter into Canada,” she says. “It gave me a bird’s-eye view of what was coming and that helped me drive more business to Toronto.”

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