Holly Anderson the First Woman to Take the Helm at Connect Sports

By Matt Swenson, August 20, 2019

Holly Anderson, a key player in the sports tourism industry for more than a decade, has been promoted to lead Connect Sports. Anderson’s primary task will be to continue to grow Connect Sports’ impressive brand and portfolio of events. She assumes her new role in time for Connect Sports’ annual trade show, the sports tourism industry’s most-attended event, bringing together the top sports planners, destinations and venues for three days of networking, business and education.

Anderson has spent the five past years with Connect Sports, most recently as senior director. Her promotion allows Patrick Higgins, Connect’s vice president of meetings and events, to focus on expanding the company’s reach through strategic solutions. This new product offering will impact fast-track development of customer acquisition by facilitating destination focus groups, brand perception studies, diversity and LGBTQ tourism development strategies, FAM trip design/recruitment and more.

Among Anderson’s many accomplishments is the launch and development of Connect’s Women in Sports Tourism Summit, now in its fourth year. She is also planning the inaugural Women in Tourism event, to be co-located with Women in Sports Tourism, this November in Tucson, Arizona. Prior to joining Connect, Anderson was the manager of sports business development at Oklahoma City CVB, where she worked for more than six years.

“I’m excited to take the reins,” says Anderson. “Connect and Connect Sports are industry leaders in bringing together planners with the right suppliers at our many events. The company has evolved so much since I’ve been here. I can’t wait to help continue to foster its growth.”

Anderson’s uncanny ability to forge long-lasting partnerships and her drive to produce the best events possible will allow Connect Sports to further cement its place as sports tourism’s must-attend trade show, predicts Higgins.

“I’m excited to pass the torch to someone as capable as Holly,” says Higgins. “I’ve been impressed, as we all have, in Holly’s work at Connect Sports. I can’t wait to see her take this opportunity and run with it.” Higgins is equally excited to pivot and focus on “ways to improve destination clients’ visibility while shortening buying cycles,” he said.

Connect Sports is Aug. 26-28 in Louisville, Kentucky. Also in its portfolio of events are the Women in Sports Tourism Summit and the Diversity Events Summit, to be held in March 2020 in West Hollywood, California, and the Connect Sports Leadership Summit

Sports Oregon CEO Jim Etzel discusses why left the agency he created and ran for 20-plus years to take the help at the sports events organization.

The Professional Disc Golf Association is seeking proposals to host its 2021 Professional Disc Golf World Championships. RFPs are due Nov. 1.

All attendees at Connect Sports 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky, can attest that this year’s conference was our best. Here are the highlights.

Holly Anderson, a key player in the sports tourism industry for more than a decade, has been promoted to lead Connect Sports.