The Greater Ft. Lauderdale Connect Sports Tailgate presented by NCAA is the latest innovative offering from Connect Sports. Being held 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 22, the tailgate offers respite and networking opportunities for Connect Sports and USOC SportsLink attendees ONLY during the middle of the event in New Orleans.
Connect Sports Director Josh Todd says the tailgate “is a sports only networking party, something that was literally asked for by past sports attendees in surveys and we delivered.”
The tailgate is a blend of business and pleasure for event professionals. There will be a tailgate atmosphere with tents complete with the Best Western Hotels & Resorts Cornhole tournament. Visit Franklin will sponsor live music from Secondhand Street Band, and there will be giveaways and ice-cold beverages. Think of the tailgate as a pre-game to the open night in New Orleans.
Todd says the “pre-game party atmosphere” will be conducive to planners and suppliers to score a deal. This year’s EVP event on Dauphin Island in Mobile County, Alabama, is an example of business coming out of socializing opportunities at previous Connect Sports events.
Carol Hudson, vice president of sports development at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale CVB, jokes the only thing missing will be her destination’s ocean breeze. “We reached out to Drew Breeze to provide assistance, but he hasn’t returned our calls,” Hudson says, playing off Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ name.
Kidding aside, Huson and Jeff Jarnecke, NCAA Director of Championships and Alliances, says the tailgate is an opportunity to thank sports event professionals for their contributions to host communities. Jarnecke notes NCAA received 3,000 bids during last year’s site selection process.
Says Hudson: “We truly understand the positive impact that sports has on not just our local destination, but across the world.”