Beyond the game: Thinking outside the box in sports hospitality

The attendee event experience shouldn’t start and finish when the game does. The atmosphere and excitement of a program should begin before guests step onto the plane and last long after they return home. Creating an unforgettable experience means keeping attendees fully engaged in their journey from start to finish. We’ve outlined a few tips to help you think outside of the box and keep your event experience both immersive and one-of-a-kind.

Thinking outside the box in sports hospitality

Travel like an All-Star.

There’s nothing that sets a good first impression more than first-class transportation to your destination. Give attendees a taste of athletic stardom by organizing air and ground transportation that mimics the way their favorite sports teams or players travel to their competitions. Custom branded chartered planes, first-class flights, luxury ride transfers and airport greeter service can all be arranged for your attendees to give them a truly VIP feel as their experience begins.

Play like a Champion…or play with a Champion.

You know your attendees already like watching their favorite players compete, so it’s only natural that they’d love the opportunity to play alongside their favorite current or former professional athletes. Create and customize small-group tournaments for the same sport they’re watching at their program. Three on three basketball tournaments, five on five soccer matches, or large group football games where attendees’ favorite sports celebrities take part in play are the perfect activities to make their event truly unique. Or, for attendees interested in more of a learning experience, scale things back and have athletes lead group demos, drills, or clinics for an equally engaging and interactive experience.

Get out of the ballroom and onto the field.

Think outside of the box in your selection of event spaces. Curating an immersive event experience means ensuring your guests feel the energy of their sporting event even when they aren’t in the arena. Is there a welcome reception or dinner during their program? Many professional sporting venues offer private tours and ability to rent out and use as your event or entertainment space. Next time instead of renting out a hotel ballroom, rent out the local basketball arena, baseball stadium or soccer field and customize the décor with both corporate and professional team touches to immerse attendees in the athletic atmosphere.

Go beyond the expected.

Not every program is one size fits all! There may be instances where guests have a plus one or you might have a variety of attendees with different interests on the same trip. By building in additional experiences that cater to a wide variety of interests, every attendee can take part in something unique to them. Give guests the opportunity to take a time-out from the main event, and schedule sightseeing tours, gourmet food and wine tastings, cooking classes with local chefs or unique area excursions to supplement their sporting experiences and ensure they have a memorable and multi-faceted event experience.

Give keepsakes that feel like trophies.

Leave your guests with a lasting personal connection to their event experience. For large groups watching teams play, think about creating customized jerseys with names embroidered on the back so they can wear throughout the tournament. At the end of a golfing experience, gift participants custom framed score cards, course brochures and personal photographs so they’ll always remember their time on the green. Rather than just giving attendees an underwhelming goody bag with random odds and ends, give them something they’ll use, see or wear for years to come to remind them of their once-in-a-lifetime winning experience.

Learn more about creating unique sports hospitality experiences here.

 

by Jay Jefferis, Director of Business Development at BCD Sports

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