Planners Praise Oregon Sports Summit


Photo courtesy of MatchPoint Photography

By John Rezell

The beauty of sports and those who make it their business is how contagious athletic passion can be. You can literally feel it in a room.

On a cold, rainy February day in Oregon — with ice and snow threatening in the weather forecast, no less — more than 140 sports business enthusiasts gathered at the Valley River Inn for the first Oregon Sports Summit.

The brainchild of Janis Ross, Executive Director of the Eugene, Cascades and Coast Sports Commission, the event focused on giving sports planners of all levels the opportunity to learn, share and grow with sessions throughout the day.

Initially Ross thought the event would be a Lane County endeavor, but as soon as word got out, she received requests from across the state to attend.

That makes perfect sense, since the number of participants in sporting events, the number of events and the number of facilities across the nation continue to grow.

The turnout proves that sports planners are hungry to learn more and grow their properties. With Sports Commissions on the constant search for more business, helping arm planners with information is a great way to create partnerships.

When events grow, the entire industry benefits.

“The inaugural Oregon Sports Summit was a resounding success,” Ross said. “Educational content was outstanding, attendance exceeded goal, and our partners were ecstatic with the connections they were able to make. Our goal is to grow the Summit into an annual, and potentially multi-day, conference.”

Richard Maher, Race Director for the Eugene Marathon, praised the event.

“The Inaugural Oregon Sports Summit was a great opportunity for us at the Eugene Marathon to further engage with our local sports community,” Maher said. “It allowed us to share our knowledge of event production that we have gathered over the years as well as get some new ideas from up and coming events. The breakout sessions covered a wide variety of topics that appealed to all of our staff members. I cannot wait to see how this event grows in the future years.”

Vin Lananna, president of Tracktown USA and the United States Track & Field Association, was the keynote speaker. Lananna talked about the city of Eugene’s rise in the world of track over the past 10 years as the moniker “Tracktown USA” moved from being a local phrase to worldwide recognition.

In the past 10 years Eugene has been host to numerous U.S. Olympic Trials, NCAA Championships, a Junior World Championship. The city is preparing to become the first in the U.S. to host the World Championships in 2021.


Photo courtesy of MatchPoint Photography