FSF holds annual Summit at Henderson Beach Resort in Destin
May 20-22, 2019
The Henderson Beach Resort & Spa – Destin, Fla.
The 2019 Florida Sports Summit brought together representatives from Florida’s 31 sports commissions and sporting events rights holders from around the Sunshine State, United States, and even Colombia. The Summit featured presentations, certifications courses, and a marketplace that allowed commissions and right holders to network and connect, showcasing each group’s future opportunities to host events and encouraging groups to Come Play in Florida.
Day One Highlights – Monday, May 20
The 2019 Summit kicked off with an active morning of competition as attendees either teed off for 18 holes at the Kelly Plantation Golf Club or battled it out in 2-vs.-2 volleyball matches on the sands of the Emerald Coast.
After a grab-and-go lunch, representatives of the state’s 31 sports commissions packed the Crystal Ballroom to take part in a CSEE certification course that saw 40 attendees receive their SafeSport certification through a hands-on course taught by Eric Barreras, Training & Technical Assistance Manager with U.S. Center for SafeSport. Barreras, who stated that “our job as sports industry professionals is to not only set the example for what’s right and acceptable, but it is also to encourage a safe environment where athletes, parents, and coaches can build a foundation where advocating and action are at the forefront of every day life,” provided pre- and post-course assessments and highlighted the keys to having and producing a safe and successful event that followed guidelines of preventing sexual abuse and misconduct in the sporting industry.
At the afternoon’s Industry Partner Welcome, sports commission members engaged in two-way discussions and presentations with Erik Evjen of Tourism Economics, Russ Yurk of 129 Sports, and Marvin Green, Jr. of the Florida Sports Foundation. Evjen presented on the future of an economic impact calculator, highlighting that “true economic impact in sporting events effect not just the community as a whole, but it also carries weight to support constituents, sponsors, and events in continuing to bring events and have a lasting impact on the community. Having the right data is key. It’s not a one size fits all.” Later in the session, Yurk introduced the future opportunities and bid application process for Florida-based communities for the potential to host NCAA National Championships in the Sunshine State, with application deadlines ending in September. “Finding communities that support not just the events financially but providing the opportunity to give back to something that’s bigger and better than just ‘you,’ are what the NCAA is about,” said Yurk. “We encourage everyone to submit a bid. There have been 1,700 bids already; everyone has the chance to host.” Green wrapped up the afternoon’s round table discussion with an overall review of the Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, the Sunshine State Games, and the events throughout Florida. “This year, we are hosting 35 events on the Sunshine State Games’ calendar while we are gearing up for a two-year partnerships with the Broward County community to host the Senior Games in 2019 and 2020. Our goal is to work hand-in-hand with our host communities to give our athletes, spectators, and families the best experience possible and provide a competitive and safe environment to participate in sport.”
The Summit’s first day concluded with a roof-top welcome reception with the Gulf of Mexico and Emerald Coast as the backdrop to the perfect sunset and view.
The morning kicked off with Marketplace one-on-one appointments and networking at The Henderson’s Crystal Ballroom. Twenty-three booths featuring Florida-based industry partners, including sports commissions and convention & visitors bureaus, met with right holders to learn about what events, connections, and community support each area had to offer and what these groups could potential host and house in the future. Continuing the opportunity of making Florida the “go to” location for sporting events and active lifestyles, the eight-minute conversations opened the door to future meetings and potential bids to host events in the Sunshine State.
Tuesday’s keynote lunch featured former college football coach and current television analyst Tommy Bowden. As a member of one of the most storied families in the history of college football, Bowden spoke enthusiastically about his father’s legacy and how its influence on his career and life left a profound example of how to impact the next generation of athletes and coaches. He also highlighted the importance of leadership and trust within organizations and empowering employees through positive and impactful decision-making.
“If you want your employees to make good decisions, you have to be around them showing the right example of how to be great leaders and make good decisions,” said Bowden. “Teach them these five key principles: Commitment, Accountability, Responsibility, Discipline, & Sacrifice.”
In the afternoon’s final session, an International Panel discussion featuring SportAccord’s Malcolm Hardman, Why Sports Matters representative John Siner, and Jose Rodriguez of IS&HA Americas. The panel brought attention to “non-normal” sports that have not been traditional United States sports. As a unit, the discussion panel highlighted international sporting opportunities and opened way to questions of deeper discussion with the sports industry partners and the future of hosting those “non-normal” events in their communities.
To cap off the evening, the Florida Sports Foundation held the Inaugural Larry Pendleton Dinner where it presented seven awards to recognize Florida communities and sports commissions for their outstanding efforts in sports tourism in the State of Florida. The events were awarded or held between April 16, 2018 to May 1, 2019.
The 2019 awards presented included:
- Best Awarded Event of the Year: WrestleMania, Tampa Bay Sports Commission
- Small Market Event of the Year: Torhs 2Hot4Ice National Championships, Florida’s Sports Coast
- Mid-Market Event of the Year: US Amateur Boys Basketball National Championships, Gainesville Sports Commission
- Large Market Event of the Year: Winter Equestrian Festival, Palm Beach County Sports Commission
- Venue of the Year: PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm Beach County Sports Commission
- Small Market Venue of the Year: Southside Sports Complex, Columbia County Sports Commission
- Mid-Market Venue of the Year: Legacy Park Multipurpose Center, Gainesville Sports Commission
City of Destin’s Mayor Gary Jarvis and the Honorable Mel Ponder, Florida House of Representative of District 4, gave opening remarks and words of welcome and thanks to the Florida-based sports commissions for their continual work in representing the state of Florida on the local, regional, and national levels and attracting sporting events to the Sunshine State.
FSF’s President and CEO Angela A. Suggs also presented the second annual Larry Pendleton Award, named in honor the Foundation’s founding president, to Carol Hudson, the Vice President of Sports Business Development with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.
As a group, the sports industry partners raised $2,500 for Girls Inc. of Panama City. The group, which directly felt the effects of Hurricane Michael in October 2018, focuses on the development of the whole girl, supporting, mentoring, and guiding girls in an affirming, pro-girl environment. There, girls learn to value their whole selves, discover and develop their inherent strengths, and receive the support they need to navigate the challenges they face. Girls Inc. girls live healthy and active lifestyles and are less likely to engage in risky behavior; they are eager to learn, successful in school, and more likely to graduate from post-secondary education; and they display diligence, perseverance and resilience.