All The Right Tools

The CSTA offers a comprehensive suite of tools
and resources exclusively to its members

When the city of Toronto decided to put in a bid for the 2016 Canadian Transplant Games, Shelley Crawford got the ball rolling by turning to a familiar tool: the Sport Event Bid Template created by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA).
“It covers off elements such as who might be on your organizing committee; do you have a finance person or another person for marketing and sponsorship?” says Crawford, account director, sport, for Tourism Toronto. “So we put together a bid book based on that template and apparently it was one of the best bid books that the Canadian Transplant Association has seen.”

CSTA membership has its privileges, including access to such templates as a Bid Evaluation Model, Sustainable Sport Event Template, and more. Over the years, the CSTA has developed more than a dozen templates, assessment models and directories to assist its members because it recognized an industry need for tools that everyone could access and collectively help to improve.

“In Canada, we host major events in different cities and those events don’t come back to the same city very often,” says Eric Savard, director, transfer of knowledge for the CSTA. The problem in the past, Savard explains, was that a city lost the knowledge it gained from hosting events whenever the individuals involved moved on to different jobs. “The CSTA developed templates that are useful for bidding and hosting, and put them on its website so that every city can access them.”

CSTA’s Bid Evaluation Model is a seven-point plan that provides host cities and organizations with a starting point – it can even help to determine whether a bid is appropriate for a community in the first place.

Once a decision is made to compete for an event, the Sport Event Bid Template covers off several points to help in the bid preparation. This template covers a lot of ground – likely in much more detail than is needed for most bids. The template is comprehensive on purpose, in order to cover every possible angle. Bidders are encouraged to whittle down the template to match the actual bid guidelines for a specific event, says Crawford.

One of CSTA’s newest tools is the Sustainable Sport Event Template, which contains the latest developments and trends in sustainable sport event planning and management – domestically and internationally. It covers everything from increasing social inclusion, accessibility and respect for human rights, to reducing risks such as waste and emissions through better environmental management.

“It’s basically a very generous checklist. It’s almost a ‘cheat’ document because it walks you through your bid from start to finish so that you know you’ve captured everything you want to about your destination,” says Wayne Long, events development officer for the city of Charlottetown.

Long advises communities to take the time to thoroughly look through the documents to gain a new perspective on bids. “If you explore and digest what’s in each of these guiding templates, it sets you on a whole new path for the betterment of your community,” Long says. Template users often describe the CSTA tools as “generous” in the amount of detail they contain. But the tools are also very flexible. For example, Cheryl Finn, director of sport tourism for the city of London, Ont., has built her own templates using CSTA tools as a starting point. On the other side of the equation, event rights holders and organizers can use CSTA tools to craft a detailed request for proposal (RFP). In Finn’s case, London is using CSTA tools both to create RFPs for its homegrown events, and to compete to be the host city for other events.

“We’re working both sides to figure it out because these are extremely valuable tools that should be a standard within various communities’ bids to host,” Finn explains. Finn’s best advice to other municipalities is to take time to attend CSTA workshops, which walk users through the models. “Once you start talking people through [the tools], they realize that they can be retrofitted to whatever you want to use them for,” she says. “That’s the beauty of it – they’re flexible.”

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