The Palm Beaches of Florida will host sports-event industry leaders
This article originally appeared in SportsTravel magazine, written by Matt Traub. Photo by Jared Wickerham.
The TEAMS Conference & Expo, presented by SportsTravel and hosted by Discover the Palm Beaches and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, will celebrate 25 years of business development, education and networking when the sports-event industry gathers for TEAMS ’23 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.
TEAMS ’23 — to be held October 2–5 — will feature programming in partnership with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, which will host its NGB Best Practices Seminar for the national governing bodies of Olympic and Paralympic sport, as well as SportsLink, an educational series designed to unite NGBs with the destinations and venues interested in hosting their events.
The conference will also again see the National Congress of State Games locate its annual symposium with TEAMS and recognize its Athletes of the Year and lifetime achievement winners at the SportsTravel Awards luncheon on October 4. The National Council of Youth Sports will recognize National Youth Sports Week during TEAMS, and Compete Sports Diversity will again honor its person of the year in the sports industry who has dedicated themselves to issues of diversity. The Sports Events and Tourism Association will also offer education that will count as credit toward its Sports Tourism Strategist certification.
“TEAMS ’23 doesn’t just mark an anniversary year, it marks a new benchmark for the original business development conference for the sports-events industry,” said Jason Gewirtz, vice president of Northstar Travel Group’s Sports Division and the executive editor and publisher of SportsTravel. “We are anticipating a record number of event organizers, destinations, venues and industry suppliers who will gather in the Palm Beaches to further their goals in what has become the most dynamic and fastest-growing market in the travel industry.”
The Opening Session for TEAMS ’23 and SportsLink will take a look ahead to the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games in Paris, including looks into the upcoming USA Swimming Trials from USA Swimming’s Eric Skufca ahead of the event at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis; a preview of broadcast plans for the event from NBC Sports’ Ron Vaccaro, and discussions with Olympic qualifiers Colin Duffy, Emma Hunt and Paralympic hopeful Samantha Bosco as they prepare for sport’s biggest stage. Attendees will also get the chance to be exposed to what is sure to be one of the most talked-about new sport additions to the program in Paris — breaking, with a performance from MZK Worldwide.
Another SportsLink session will examine the importance of collegiate sports. The collegiate sports ecosystem remains a key pipeline for Olympic and Paralympic athletes and without collegiate programs and the events they generate, that pipeline remains at risk. In this session, attendees will hear about the current issues from Adam Wood, USOPC director of collegiate performance pathway; Florida Atlantic University Athletic Director Brian White, NCAA Director of Championships and Alliances Ryan Tressel, USTA Senior Director of Collegiate Tennis Elissa Hill and Olympic fencer Daryl Homer, a student-athlete who won two NCAA championships at St. John’s.
One of the best examples of the opportunities presented to attendees through the TEAMS Conference & Expo’s partnership with the USOPC will be October 4 as nearly a dozen leaders at a variety of national governing bodies will give updates about their upcoming plans. Updates will include important information about future events as well as specific NGB membership and strategic initiatives that will help position organizations with the latest information to partner with the Olympic and Paralympic Movement.
Other SportsLink sessions will examine the increased opportunities being presented for athletes in adaptive sports, from new competitions to potential new sports on the Paralympic program; and how the issue of climate change and sustainable sports is being addressed within national governing bodies and from destinations that are factoring the climate into their event planning as a result.
The State of Youth Sports
Along with SportsLink panels, TEAMS educational sessions will include a deep dive on the state of youth sports, which represent the largest segment of the sports-events industry. The conversation will include Wayne Moss, the executive director of the National Council of Youth Sports, and Marty McNair, founder of The Jordan McNair Foundation, on the topic of strategies sports organizations, host cities and venues should deploy to ensure players’ physical needs are being met as recent high-profile situations with Damar Hamlin and Bronny James have underscored the need for venues and organizations to have plans in place to keep athletes safe on the field.
Other programming will focus on how to diversify sports events; how technology is changing the sports industry; the shifting economics of sporting events; and the recently opened bid cycles for upcoming NCAA and NJCAA national championships with leaders of both bid efforts discussing how their bid cycles are unfolding, what the organizations are looking for most, and how to position your destination for success.
Celebrating Palm Beach County Sports
This year’s TEAMS Conference will also recognize key members of the Florida Atlantic University basketball team that made a dramatic run last season all the way to the 2023 NCAA Men’s Final Four. Four players from the Owls — Alijah Martin, Bryan Greenlee, Nicholas Boyd and Giancarlo Rosado — will detail what the experience was like for the Palm Beach County university as they traveled across the rounds from Columbus to New York to Houston, capturing America’s attention and affection in the process.
Attendees will also get bespoke opportunities to experience two of the standout venues in Palm Beach County. The TEAMS Invitational Golf Tournament will return on October 2 at Palmer Course, “The King” of Golf Courses, one of the most overall entertaining courses for players of all skill levels. For those who are not golfers, October 2 will offer the chance to visit one of the most unique sports venues in the country — the National Polo Center, home to the U.S. Polo Association. Guests will be invited into the 7th Chukker Club before getting an opportunity to experience aspects of the game first-hand.
Recognizing Award Winners
In addition to education, TEAMS will include the annual SportsTravel Awards, which will be handed out during a special luncheon on October 4. The awards will honor the best events on the amateur, collegiate and professional level over the past 12 months, as well as the best new venue of the year and the best sports host city as voted on by SportsTravel readers. The National Congress of State Games as well as the USOPC and Compete Sports Diversity will also hand out their own awards during the luncheon.