Successful Sport Events Congress 2018 in Halifax

Successful Sport Events Congress 2018 in Halifax

March 20, 2018, (Ottawa, Ontario): With support from Halifax Regional Municipality and the Province of Nova Scotia, the sport tourism industry gathered on the east coast for the first time at its annual conference, Sport Events Congress 2018 (SEC18). With one of the largest number of delegates in its 18-year history, SEC18 was the first national conference held at the new Halifax Convention Centre with over 400 people in attendance. The event was also supported by Destination Canada, Canada’s national tourism marketing organization, under the newly signed three-year partnership agreement with the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA).

Held yearly since 2001, SEC brings together the key players in the tourism industry’s fastest growing segment. It was a highly successful, interactive three days for representatives of sport event rights holders, destinations, event suppliers and sponsors at the conference organized by the CSTA. Take a quick tour of SEC18 by reviewing the video summary of the event.

In a powerful keynote address, Tom Grilk, CEO of the Boston Athletic Association, shared how the Boston Strong movement grew organically and turned tragedy into an inspiring story from the Boston Marathon. Internationally recognized speakers included Shane O’Sullivan, Head of Content, PISM Sport & Entertainment Inc., London, U.K. and Mike Laflin, President & CEO, Sportcal, also based in the U.K. Canada Bid Director and General Secretary, Canada Soccer’s Peter Montopoli closed out the congress with an inspired presentation on the joint bid from Canada, Mexico and the USA to host the 2026 FIFA World CupTM.

There was a definite East Coast theme to the festivities, with several speakers on the program from the Atlantic provinces, including a panel featuring Mayor Dawn Arnold, Moncton, N.B.; Mayor Danny Breen, St. John’s, Nfld.; Mayor Mike Savage, Halifax Regional Municipality, N.S.; joining Mayor Peter Brown of Airdrie, Alta. And the Halifax-based group SQUID! started off #SEC18 with a rousing performance of modern percussion and bagpipes.

There was also an East Coast flair to the social events that are a highlight of the conference. Delegates experienced the hospitality of the Alexander Keith Brewery, featuring entertainment and food with a Nova Scotia focus. The ‘flamingle’ featuring a pink flamingo theme while networking was carried on with the mingling of delegates was a ‘rosy’ success. And delegates cheered on their favourite basketball teams at the U SPORTS Men’s Basketball at Scotiabank Centre. In true sport tourism industry fashion, many delegates continued to enjoy the Halifax hospitality for an extra day or two, thanks to the Nor’Easter that blew in as flights were scheduled to depart, but everyone took in the delay with extreme good humour as they waited out the storm.

One of the key announcements coming out of the conference was the introduction of the GSI Canada Index. CSTA, in partnership with Sportcal, the publisher of the annual Global Sport Impact (GSI) Report has developed the Global Sport Impact Canada Index, or GSI Canada Index. This new tool ranks all cities hosting national sports championships and international sports events in Canada through a data driven assessment of performance. The results of the GSI Canada Index ranking had Montreal in 1st, Edmonton 2nd, Quebec 3rd, Ottawa 4th and Vancouver 5th. The complete index listing of all 51 cities is on the CSTA website.

Also unveiled at SEC18 was the latest tool for CSTA members, the Sport Tourism Assessment Template (STAT) designed for municipalities. It will help communities of all sizes, budgets and stages of evolution as sport tourism host markets to assess their current position and identify areas for strategic and tactical development in event bidding and hosting. STAT can be downloaded from the Members Only section of the CSTA website.
One of the regular features of SEC18 is the Sport Events Exchange where close to 60 different sport organizations ‘speed-dated’ with destinations for eight minutes at a time to see if their sport and the city/region would be a good match. Hundreds of business-to-business meetings took place during the exchange sessions and new opportunities for both destinations and sports were explored.

The 12th annual PRESTIGE awards luncheon, hosted by CBC’s Colleen Jones, honoured the best in 2017 sport tourism events, people, organizations and sponsors. The PRESTIGE videos featuring all finalists, and photos of the recipients are available on the CSTA website.
The newly re-elected Chair of the CSTA Board of Directors Cheryl Finn wrapped up SEC18 by encouraging everyone to “share in the passion of sport and what sport can do to transform communities, individuals and our great nation … do great things back in your own cities and we’ll gather back next year to hear your stories.”

Visit the CSTA website to review the 2018 Sport Events Congress presentations.

AGM news
Elected to the CSTA Board of Directors for two-year terms (2018 – 2020) were Graham Brown, (Toronto, Ont.), Heather Bury (Saskatoon, Sask.), Blair McIntosh, Vice-Chair (Toronto, Ont.), Julie Nadeau (Sherbrooke, Que.), and Seamus O’Keefe, (St. John’s , Nfld.).
Remaining on the board for the 2017-2019 term are: Neal Alderson (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Cheryl Finn, Chair (London, Ont.), Katherine Henderson, Treasurer (Ottawa, Ont.), Janelle Janis (Edmonton, Alta.), Reggie Lang, (Edmonton, Alta.), and Dean McIntosh (Calgary, Alta.). Grant MacDonald (Fall River, Nova Scotia) remains in his position as Past Chair.

Wayne Long (Charlottetown, PEI) and Brian MacPherson (Ottawa, Ont.), were recognized and thanked for their contributions as they ended their terms on the board.

For more details on the CSTA’s 2017 activities, review the 2017 Annual Report.
Save the dates for 2019 and 2020

SEC19 will take place in Ottawa at The Westin Hotel March 19- 21, 2019 before heading west to Edmonton March 24-26 in 2020.
#SEC18 │ #sporttourism │ @SportEventsCong

About the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA)
The Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance is a non-governmental, member-based, capacity building organization that promotes sport tourism as a grassroots economic development initiative at the community level. The CSTA services over 500 members across Canada, including 130 municipalities, 300 national and provincial sport, multi-sport and major games organizations and a variety of other sport and tourism industry partners. Sport tourism is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry in Canada with over $6.5 billion in annual spending by domestic and international visitors.

For further information contact:
Barb MacDonald, Communications Consultant, CSTA
Tel: (613) 894-1769 | Email:

0 replies on “Successful Sport Events Congress 2018 in Halifax”