TicketManager | NFL Activation Summit Reminds Us of the Importance of In-Person Events

The NFL’s 32 teams just concluded their annual Club-Led Activation Summit, which has been held each off-season for the past eight years, with the exception of a Covid pre-emption in 2021. The Tennessee Titans were the host for the 2024 event in Nashville.

It won’t come as a surprise that I applaud the clubs for organizing an event designed to share best practices and insights into working with partners on relevant and engaging promotional programs.

Having hosted numerous similar gatherings for rights holders and brand marketers, as well as the TicketManager Partner Summit, I’m the biggest believer that in-person gatherings are critical success-drivers for anyone involved in sports marketing. I have witnessed a myriad of positive outcomes from the events I have been involved with over the years.

Coming out of the pandemic, I wrote a post about the specific reasons why our industry should be thrilled that in-person business and training events were back and they remain true today. Here they are:

  • Compared to many other disciplines, sports business practices lack publicly available information to use as comparative data. Transparency can only be found by paying for data from those who collect information on deals, valuations, etc. or by building the type of trusted network of peers that can be forged through meeting them in person.


  • Most of us didn’t go to school for/don’t have formal training in sports marketing. Conferences and in-house events serve as continuing education and help to reinforce professionalism in the field.


  • Literally serving as on-the-job training, these events are particularly beneficial to the steady stream of practitioners—especially on the brand side–who move into sponsorship or other related positions with little or no direct experience.


  • With the exception of the largest players, most sponsorship and partnership professionals don’t have a cohort of in-house colleagues to seek advice from, bounce ideas off, etc.


  • Sponsorships are communal by nature, i.e., each sponsored property has multiple partners, creating myriad opportunities for cross-promotions, shared activations, co-op marketing, etc. However, experience shows that many of these possibilities go unexplored unless and until cosponsors are brought together and nudged to brainstorm by their property partners.


  • Although the trade media that covers sports business does an excellent job of documenting deals, trends, personalities and more, media stories, case studies and other published materials only go so far. The ability to engage with and ask questions of the people behind the stories of success (and failure) can’t be matched.


  • And while virtual get-togethers serve as a good substitute when meeting in person isn’t possible, the personal connections and detailed information-sharing that takes place when people are physically together can’t be replicated on a screen.

And speaking of the TicketManager Partner Summit, this year’s event is scheduled for October 17 at the Times Center in New York City. This is a free, invitation-only event where hundreds of business leaders across the world’s most influential brands in sports, sponsorship, live events and ticketing gather to make great connections and share valuable information.

Approved attendees enjoy exclusive networking events, insightful panels, and exciting celebrity speakers. If you’re interested in attending, you can apply here.