2014 - Game On

1/10/2014 3:02:00 PM

My husband and I started off the New Year braving the cold and snow at the NHL Winter Classic in Ann Arbor. Huddled in the trenches of the Big House with 105,000 frosty hockey fans, we had no regrets on our decision because it was truly a once in a life time experience.

Though I have always promoted sporting events as a team builder, my day at the Winter Classic really made me understood what it meant to bond with the crowd (even though they were strangers) we quickly connected on several levels because of our shared experience. And we all know that it is the “experience” that provides that biggest ROI.

Now if it’s something big you had in mind (think Super Bowl or perhaps the Indy 500 or the Masters) for your highest producers and most important clients, the event will guarantee your award recipient will enjoy a sports experience they won’t soon forget and if you go as a group - expect to grow closer to the people you go with.

Many of these iconic events have well deserved reputations earned over the years because of the magnitude, exclusivity (limited availability) and tradition that goes with the event. Take our Winter Classic experience; the enormity of the event and everything associated with it from the pre-game activities like tailgating, the kids playing hockey on the back pond during intermissions to all of the dancing in the stands to keep warm and the high fives with total strangers when the Leafs scored made it an experience that you just have to be a part of and most importantly, will be envied by everyone who watched it on TV.

On a smaller scale, finding the perfect sporting event to motivate your employees or say thank you to your clients locally isn’t difficult; especially here in southern Ontario where the sports franchises are abundant (regardless of the fans being loyal or fickle).

You don't necessarily need the comfy confines of stadium/arena suites or private boxes for a sports event to be memorable. And it doesn’t have to be a group activity either. Sitting in the thick of things with everyday fans, enjoying a hotdog with a beer and box of popcorn with friends/colleagues, can be just as much fun. Make sure to include an extra ticket or two so a friend, family member, or significant other to make the experience more enjoyable. Most people don’t want to watch the game alone. Programs, souvenirs and autographed memorabilia are a great way to enhance the experience.

My "go to" sports guy is Atiq Ahmed from Maple Leaf Sports +Entertainment. Atiq keeps me in the know on what is happening on all things sports including soccer. He tells me that we’ll start to hear much more about Toronto FC in the news – they are doing big things for this upcoming soccer season.

Feel free to reach out to him for special access to hard to get tickets and discounted tickets (when possible) atiq.ahmed@mlse.com

BTW – I am using the new Pantone Colour of the year - RADIANT ORCHID. The hue which is a perfectly blended mix of purple and pink is so versatile. Pantone suggests using an RGB of 200/107/168 but I went a little lusher using 162/60/128. And don’t be surprised to see this colour (or shades of it) easily paired with many other colours and patterns for d├ęcor options this year – think rich browns, radiant blues, animal prints, metallics and even red. You can’t help but feel happy setting your eyes on this fantastic colour...even on this dull and dreary January day it will make you smile.

Try it out or check out more shades: http://www.pantone.com/pages/index.aspx?pg=21131