The Business of Major Events: Exploring and Pursuing High-Profile Contracts

Did you know that in 2015, sporting events will contribute over $750 million in business to the Canadian economy? And that Canada currently ranks second in the world on the international Sportcal hosting index? The Great White North will host 42 international events between the years 2009 and 2020 and isn’t letting up anytime soon in placing bids to host.

In fact, 2015 has been proclaimed the Year of Sport in Canada in recognition of the growing importance of sport to both our economy and our daily lives.

And while it may appear to be a fleeting, inconsistent market opportunity, dependent upon whether your city is hosting or not, taken collectively, the potential opportunities of major events is significant and offers a stream of steady opportunities that may warrant a closer look for your business.

Finding and Connecting to Opportunities

Since the ‘Sports Events’ industry is mobile, and can vary widely depending on the nature and size of the event, it requires a creative approach to identify and pursue business opportunities. In conjunction with the upcoming 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Women’s Enterprise Centre has set out to build Canada’s Major Events Supplier Database, the first-ever national initiative aimed at promoting Canadian companies’ capabilities to support international events. 

You can register your company’s profile here to start promoting yoru business and tapping into those business opportunities. All you need is your business number, name and address, year you started business, number of employees, as well as a list of your products or services. 

Additional Tools and Techniques to Secure Business with Sports Events

Register and Connect with these Go-To Resources 

Set Up Alerts
A simple Google Alert or two can provide very timely and insightful information that may stem from a source you’d never stumble upon. Here’s an example search string to get started:

Canada + Sports + Bidding + Hosting + British Columbia

Connect Through eNewsletter Subscriptions, Social Media
Direct information from the event organizers, sponsors and broadcasters is the most reliable. The Major Events Supplier Database will be sending out regular alerts to opportunities as they become known. The PanAm Games does the same. Nearly all posted and distributed information is pointed to or echoed/linked through social media channels. 

Do Your Own Market Intelligence
Labatt and Bell are major sponsors of the upcoming 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament, and Coca-Cola, adidas, Hyundai/KIA and VISA are all FIFA worldwide partners. Have a look at their websites to see what they are saying about their involvement – will they hold consumer-oriented contests? Fan zones? Have they used the events to reward key distributors or sales people? Observe past patterns of sponsors and anticipate their actions and needs while in Canada.

Four Reasons to Pursue Major Events Business

Working with a major event such as a World Cup or an Olympic Games is more than a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. Smart businesses recognize the value of these contracts in several ways – Vancouver-based Culinary Capers is a great example of how to capitalize on an initial contract:

1. Leverage International Business Relations to Open New Markets

Working with a global event is an incredible way to gain international exposure for your company. Culinary Capers learned this first-hand as they successfully won the contract to service BC’s pavilion at the Torino Olympics. While the client was ‘local’, the delivery was very much international, requiring them to find an Italian partner to provide a kitchen for their prep. As a result of their outstanding work, they were hired to do the same for the BC Pavilion in Beijing and now have opened a Beijing office for their company.

2. Acquire a High Profile Reference Client

There’s a certain cachet that comes from being associated with an Olympics, a World Cup or other major event. While there are guidelines to follow in how you market your involvement, the fact that your company supplied to an event of this caliber speaks volumes to future clients.

3. Connect with the ‘Inner Circle’ of International Events

Global events mean global corporations and industry heavy-hitters are present. Take advantage of your proximity to them via the event to cultivate relationships that may have taken years to develop otherwise.

4. Develop New Business Partnerships

Often, local suppliers must partner up to have the scale and service level required to meet the demands of events like this. These opportunities offer an excellent limited-term, pilot run at working with another business which can opened the door to growth through future joint projects or on a permanent basis through a merger.

The business opportunities with major events are not for everyone, but they may be for you. So do your research, look at the potential opportunities and register your business. Who knows, you could be serving the next Kara Lang in 2015's Women's World Cup.