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Inaugural AMPSEA conference brings together Australia’s mass event industry

Inaugural AMPSEA conference brings together Australia’s mass event industry
November 23, 2022

The first AMPSEA (Australian Mass Participation Sporting Events Alliance) conference has concluded in Sydney having successfully brought together the key figures across Australia’s mass sporting event industry for the first time.

AMPSEA was formed in May 2020 by a group of industry leaders to bring the industry together in order to battle through the financial impacts of the COVID- 19 pandemic. The purpose was initially to find a way to return to the delivery of mass participation sporting events while maintaining a flattened COVID-19 curve. The Alliance is now seeking to drive the industry forward and not only increase the participation of events but create an alliance enabling members to collaborate, increase efficiencies and be involved in the progression of an industry that is still feeling the effects of the pandemic.

The conference was held at the Sydney Novotel Central and attracted delegates and members from Australia wide.

Introducing the event, Chris Heverin, Chair of AMPSEA, advised "each year millions of Australians participate in fun runs, marathons, ocean swims, ironman events, community cycling and challenging obstacle course racing.

“These mass participation sporting events bring people together, benefit public health, create jobs, drive growth in regional economies and raise millions of dollars for charity. AMPSEA is developing a strategy to secure financial support from the Government, leading a media campaign to drive awareness for our industry and producing best practise risk mitigation protocols to fast-track our path back to business.”

“The main purpose of the conference was to provide a forum to enable our members to collaborate, share ideas and be part of this process.”

The conference focused on four key areas: funding, sustainability, technology & data, and workforce.

The opening keynote was provided by Dr Lindsey Reece of The Australian Sports Commission who focused on a number of key issues which have impacted mass participation events as a result of the pandemic. Data from AusPlay (the national population tracking survey funded by the Australian Sports Commission) revealed how people’s desire to improve their mental health has actually increased participation in mass sporting events. Also of note was that participants are generally affluent and that awareness of events is not high amongst socially economic challenged groups and other walks of life.

The challenge of maintaining and increasing volunteers was also discussed as the past few years have seen a significant drop in numbers.

James Ellender of ActiveXchange, Australia’s leading data sporting analyst, also delivered some critical statistics key to the organisation and marketing of events.

Ellender focussed on the data available to organisations which profiles potential participants, defines target markets and provides critical data on issues such as how 30% of households have actually shifted their location since 2018.

Other speakers included Geoff Meyer, Managing Director Oceania of The Ironman Group, who spoke of the economic impact mass events have on tourism and how the Ironman Group view themselves just as much a tourism organization as an events company.

The conference concluded with a forum led by Heverin and John Trevillian AM, former Director General of NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, on the AMPSEA Strategic Plan and Future Direction.

Heverin stated “the mass participation events industry is the largest cohort in the participation space with over 3.4 million Australians, but is currently unrepresented and unrecognised, which does not make sense

“We have been eager for the AMPSEA Conference to provide industry members the opportunity to engage with government officials, develop meaningful relationships and explain our case for support and inclusion within the government funding and support framework. This inaugural conference went a long way to achieving that.”

The second AMPSEA Conference will be held in Melbourne on 28th November 2023.

Click here for further details on AMPSEA.

Click here for more information on the 2023 AMPSEA Conference in the Australasian Leisure Management industry Calendar.

About the author

James Croll

With a background in adventure tourism, events management and marketing, James Croll is a regular contributor to Australasian Leisure Management and Asian Leisure Business.

Click here to view his LinkedIn profile.

Read more from this author

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