When Prince Harry’s brainchild, a 10-sport competition featuring wounded veteran athletes, announced it would take place at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando May 8-12, 2016, Kissimmee’s team saw a golden opportunity.
John Poole, director of sports marketing and development at Experience Kissimmee, reached out to the global organization quickly and proved adept at negotiations. The proof: Kissimmee is the sole DMO partner for an event attracting 500 athletes from 15 countries, reaching a global audience on ESPN and BBC. This is the second Invictus Games. In March, Toronto won the 2017 competition.
The television aspect is what captures Poole’s imagination, as it presents an unusual chance to bring worldwide attention to the destination. He guesses the event will bring about 30 million media impressions.
“When I cut a deal for an amateur sporting event, I’m looking at the metrics from a room night and economic impact perspective,” Poole says. “With Invictus, I’m looking at exposure—how can we generate awareness and elevate our brand?”