There are few issues in sports more important than the safety of the athletes competing. Since 2017, the U.S. Center for SafeSport has been tasked with investigating allegations made by athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic movement of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, bullying and harassment. With more than 240 complaints coming per month, the issue remains a challenging one for the center, which has more than 1,000 open cases needing to be investigated. The center’s new CEO, Ju’Riese Colón, is tackling the issue head on, coming to the organization in July after serving as the vice president of child and club safety at the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. In this episode of the SportsTravel Podcast, Colón discusses why she took on the job, how the center is prioritizing its work and what host cities and the sports-event industry should be considering and doing when it comes to protecting the athletes competing at events.
Obstacle course races were once considered a fad in the sports-event industry. But some organizations have withstood the test of time, including Tough Mudder, one of the first companies in the space. Still, their journey hasn’t come without growing pains. Recent forays to diversify the business and tweak their traditional events had left some hardcore fans disappointed. Now, however, the organization is turning around their participation rates and event calendar by going back to their roots. And leading the charge is Kyle McLaughlin, who has skyrocketed up the leadership since joining in May 2018 with a background in event production from New York Road Runners, the organizers of the New York City Marathon. After serving as senior vice president of live events and later president of Tough Mudder, McLaughlin was named CEO in July. In this podcast with SportsTravel’s Jason Gewirtz, McLaughlin discusses where the organization has been, what markets are ripe for expansion and how Tough Mudder has survived where others have not.
Sports fans expect more today from the live-event experience than they did in years past. And companies like Xperiel are leading the new wave of spectator engagement, creating predictive games for fans in the arena and stadium and using augmented reality to help them play their own games within a game using the venue’s scoreboard. In this episode of the SportsTravel Podcast, Xperiel Co-Founder and CEO Alex Hertel explains how his company is changing the landscape for fans, what the future holds for the live-event experience and how you can catch a virtual T-shirt shot from a virtual cannon on the scoreboard—and get a real shirt delivered to you for your accomplishment.
BMX is one of the fastest-growing sports by participation, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. And that’s in part due to the work of USA BMX, which has been working with destinations to develop new venues and encouraging entry-level riders to give the sport a try. In this podcast, the national governing body’s chief operating officer, John David, discusses the organization’s approach to growth and how USA BMX has seen success in recent years encouraging more participants and host cities to be part of the action.
When you think of Topgolf, you’re likely not thinking about esports. But the entertainment company whose high-end driving ranges have become a phenomenon of sorts continues to branch out into new areas. The latest of those is the creation of Esports Lounges at six of their properties in an effort to attract a new audience to their venues and to plant a flag in the growing esports market. In this conversation, Topgolf Media President YuChiang Cheng discusses Topgolf’s interest in esports, the company’s target audience for events and his own background in gaming and sports.
Every four years, soccer gets a huge profile boost through the FIFA World Cup. With the Women’s World Cup set for France in 2019, soccer leaders in the United States are hopeful that the defending champion U.S. Women’s National Team will once again make a deep run and keep interest high when the event is done. Such a run should only stand to benefit the National Women’s Soccer League, which is entering its record-breaking seventh season as the only professional soccer league for women in the country. In this podcast, NWSL President Amanda Duffy discusses her rise in the organization, how the league intends to capitalize on World Cup fever and her predictions for who will hoist the trophy in France.
Not everyone is organizing an event on the scale of the TCS New York City Marathon, the largest marathon in the world. But there are still lessons to be learned from how New York Road Runners organizes the race, which attracts more than 50,000 participants. And NYRR President and CEO Michael Capiraso has some unique perspective from all angles since he’s competed in 27 straight New York City Marathons himself. In this podcast, hear his take on that experience, the 50 other events his organization produces and how NYRR has worked to enhance its presence in the community.
Oliver Luck has had many roles over his career in sports, both as an athlete and an executive. But his latest position as commissioner of the revamped XFL professional football league may be his most challenging yet. Hear about the innovations Luck plans to bring to the sport, how the XFL picked its eight host cities and why the XFL isn’t the only new league trying to capitalize on the unending interest in football.