By Kevin Olsen, Salt Lake Magazine -- The worlds largest gathering of sports-event organizers met last week at the Salt Palace Convention Center for the 2013 TEAMS Conference & Expo. The conference was presented by SportsTravel magazine and hosted by the Utah Sports Commission and Visit Salt Lake.
Headlining the event as keynote speakers were Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Bob Costa along with Mitt Romney.
Romney spoke about his time as head of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
The conference provides sports-event organizers an opportunity to bring their sport into venues across the nation and build relationships with other event planners, regardless of the size or popularity of the sport. For example Glen Schorr who's the Executive Director of Orienteering USA had a chance to meet with Sue Harshbarger who oversees sales and development for Eugene Cascade Coast Sports in Oregon.
Salt Lake Magazine was at the conference and talked with some of those smaller sports as well as some hosting cities.
Jonathan Strauss founded the International Distance Skateboard Association (ISDA) and has used his organization to promote skateboarding as a safe and viable form of transportation while also holding exciting events and breaking world-records.
“This conference has been amazing,” says Strauss. “I mean, our organization started only two years ago. We are going into our third year. Last year was my first TEAMs conference. From our first year we had six events, this year we are going to end up with about 14 events and next year we have 25 and three of the 25 are going to be outside of the U.S.”
City representatives from all around the nation came to represent their cities as a place willing to host sports events. The conference was a perfect opportunity for Hamilton County, IN. William Knox is the Director of Hamilton County Sports Authority in Carmel, IN. Hamilton County is set to open their Grand Park, a large sports campus six years in the making that has 31 fields for multiple sports as well as 26 baseball diamonds. “This community is using this project to spur economic development for their city,” Knox says. “They are really trying to use that as a catalyst for developers who can come in and develop around the complex.”
Salt Lake also did some networking at the TEAMS Expo.
"You can tell the events rights holders can see all Utah has to offer," says Laura Shaw, Director of Marketing/Communications for the Utah Sports Commission. "When you get them here, and they are actually able to physically go into your venues and experience the friendliness of Utah's people and see all of the different partners that we have, thats definitely an advantage for the state."