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Happy July!  

We hope that your summer leagues are filled to the brim and breaking records!

This month, we are excited to share the topics discussed and decisions made at the Executive Committee Retreat in June, along with announcing a new referral program, discount program for TIPS Alcohol Training and the Bell Anderson Risk Management Handbook created just for our members!  We will also highlight a Sponsor and an Event of the Month, and share important reminders.  

If you have any questions or comments, or would like to be considered for a future Highlight opportunity, please contact Krissy at

~ Your SSIA Team

EC Retreat Recap
The Executive Committee met in Toronto from June 12th-14th for the 2019 EC Retreat to set goals and determine the budget for FY 2020, evaluate current initiatives, and have a little fun along the way.  We'd like to again thank Kristi Herold and her team at the Sport & Social Group for organizing the retreat and our meeting space.  We'd also like to give a big shout out to Louis Hodgetts with Game On VT for taking awesome minutes.

Please review the minutes HERE for details on what was discussed.  Email with any questions or comments.  
New Resources!
Our SSIA Partner, Jason Webb with Bell Anderson Insurance, is excited to share the SSIA Risk Management Handbook!  It was designed to help guide members on topics including:
  • Alcohol Training
  • Youth Sports Requirements
  • Concussion Training
  • Sample Waivers
  • Background Checks
  • Active Shooter Program and Response Training
  • Accident Medical Claims and Reporting

No handbook can anticipate every circumstance or question about policy.  As the Sport and Social Industry continues to grow, the need may arise to revise, supplement or rescind any policies or portions of the handbook from time to time, as it deems appropriate.  Members will, of course, be notified of such changes to the handbook as they occur.

The Risk Management Handbook can be accessed in the Locker Room under Member Benefits - Insurance.  Jason plans to add Driver Training and Injury Reporting soon.

Please direct suggestions and / or questions to  

Get Rewarded!
Referrals make the world go 'round!  That's why we think it's high time that you get rewarded for connecting the SSIA with new potential members, sponsors and partners.

For every membership, sponsorship or partnership referral that comes through and gets signed on with the SSIA, you will get $100 off your membership renewal!  

Please send your referrals to Krissy at so that she can follow-up on the lead.  
Upcoming Lunch N Learn Schedule
Last year, we introduced the Lunch N Learn series, which are video chats with SSIA Partners and Platinum Sponsors.  The purpose of these sessions is to educate Industry Members and provide more value to our Partners and Sponsors, allowing them the opportunity to reach Industry Members who want to learn more about their products and services.  To view past sessions, visit the SSIA Locker Room!

Please save the dates for our upcoming sessions:

August 13th from 1-1:30pm EST: Bell Anderson
Jason Webb will go over the Risk Management Guideline in detail.  Topics include alcohol, concussion and driver training, background checks, reporting injuries, accident medical claims, active shooter response and youth sports policies.  

September 24th from 1-1:30pm EST: GameTime Scoreboards
Fil Ivanovski will go over the different ways that the GameTime Scoreboard can be incorporated into leagues, tournaments and events.  

October 8th from 1-1:30pm EST: Ringer Sports App
Max Lubahn will talk about pricing leagues accurately to maximize profits AND share their new customizable ticketing, general admission and event tool that allows for charitable donations and attendee registration.
Sponsor Highlight

Are you looking for a way to revamp your digital presence and improve your customer experience? LeagueApps has launched two new offerings to help you grow your business -- websites and apps!

LeagueApps’ Design Shop provides modern and mobile friendly websites at an affordable price. Professional designers work with you to help you represent your brand and achieve your business objectives, while applying ecommerce best practices to help your business grow.

You can also elevate your player experience with a branded app that provides easy access to scheduling, field directions, rosters, and messaging. Branded Mobile Apps get your logo and your brand into Apple’s iOS and Andriod’s Google Play App Stores. The app is free for players to download and automatically syncs with a LeagueApps account so there is no extra setup or management.

Interested? Get a free quote today!
Event of the Month
Event Name: VOLLEYWOOD Beach Volleyball Tournament 
Date: Saturday, July 20th, 2019
Location: North Avenue Beach, Chicago, IL
Cost: Ranging from $110-$240, depending on team size
Event Producers: Chicago Sport & Social Club
Number of Participants: 1000+ for tournaments; 3000+ for Beach Bash
Contact: Chris Hastings, President or Brian Irving, VP Operations 

This month, we were lucky enough to get two Big Dawgs from Chicago for our interview! Chris Hastings and Brian Irving give us the scoop on their most recent big event, VOLLEYWOOD! Below are the interviews of both guys. 

What is VOLLEYWOOD?  VOLLEYWOOD is a sports and entertainment event featuring a 1,200 person+ beach volleyball tournament, which includes men’s and women’s qualifying divisions for the AVP, and a 3,000+ person beach party, which includes internationally acclaimed DJ acts, a 70,000 square foot beer garden on the beach, and twenty+ sponsors activating within the event. It is the second largest event to take place at North Avenue Beach on an annual basis following the Chicago Air and Water Show. 

How did your event go?  

Chris - This year’s VOLLEYWOOD event was our most challenging to date due to weather issues. We had more teams, more tickets sold, and more sponsors this year. We were poised for one of our best Volleywoods, but unfortunately Mother Nature did not cooperate. Between the flooding, heat scares, and thunderstorms, it was tough. Thankfully the event was still solid in terms of profit, but would have reached much higher levels without the weather issues. 

Brian - We arrived at the beach at 5am, after setting up all day ahead of time on Friday.  The beach looked pristine and ready to go.  Within an hour the waves flooded the beach and we lost 26 courts to flooding. We have had a tremendous amount of rain and the lake is at an all time high, so the strong winds on Saturday morning pushed the waves over the sidewalk and break walls and flooded the beach.

What were some of the highlights of the event?  

Chris - On the volleyball side, having the $20,000 purse for our AVP Next level 2’s for men’s and women’s attracted high level talent from all over North America. On the party side, our DJ lineup included four international acts and the music was excellent, along with the visual show accompanying the music. 

Brian - The highlight was the way our staff handled themselves through oppressive heat (excessive heat warnings both days) on Friday and Saturday, along with keeping a positive attitude while dealing with our participants as best possible, despite all of the adversity we were confronted with.

Obviously, some big surprises happened at your event. How did you use your experience to get creative in handling them?  

Chris -
We try to manage most problems with up front preparation and investment in resources. Examples of this include adding 15 volleyball courts in advance of our event that we have not used in previous years, ordered additional water and ice and cooling towels in advance of the event to help our attendees deal with the heat, and adding additional wind management resources. Having a predetermined plan to deal with weather problems was key in determining when to call the show due to weather. 

Brian - We have had a lot of erosion over the years, so in order to accommodate the demand, we added a tournament that starts at 2pm. Ahead of time we had 40 teams for the 2pm tournament, and we knew with the winds dying and the heat that some of the courts would dry up, so we tried to convince as many people as possible to consider playing in the 2pm tournament.  We also offered some free entry in the VOLLEYWOOD Beach Bash or tried to convince some people to transfer to our Labor Day Tournament. 

With everything that went on during your event, what were your top two takeaways of the day?

Chris - 1. Preparation is critical and the more prepared you are the more equipped you are to handle issues that can come up. You cannot be over prepared.  2. You have to have a good team to be able to produce an event of this size. The team must be experienced and understand the importance of working as a team to create and execute on a successful event. 

Brian - 1. No matter how much you prepare that you can always have unexpected things happen. You have to always try and roll with the punches and stay true to your core goals as a business. 2. The second takeaway, is always dress and plan for everything at the beach and bring plenty of zip ties!

If you could have one superpower to help you for the day of the event, what would it be and why?

Chris - The power to stop weather from affecting the event. I guess Superman powers - the power to blow away the wind and storm. 

Brian - My superpower would be shop vac arms!  That way you can always drain the puddles on a field or court and play on.

Would you say your event was more or less successful than the previous Bears season, based on what you were dealt for the day?

Chris - That’s a harsh question Felix! I was at the playoff loss...I think it’s a tie. We had an f’ing double-doink that ended our event in a less successful way than how we prepared and executed, considering the morning volleyball cancellations and the evening weather stoppage. But like the rest of the Bears season, the rest of our event was outstanding. 

How would you rate your event on a 1-10 scale based on what your team had to deal with? 10 being a Superbowl level and 1 being a Fyre Fest bust?

Brian - I would rate our event about a 7.  Those that played had a great time and we were able to not let the other issues and adversity affect the good time had by those able to play.  

Plans for this event in the future?

Chris - Bigger and better. We have a history of building the event year after year and this year was on track for that. You have to factor weather into outdoor events so no excuses. In the future we will continue to improve the event and work to lessen the impact that weather can cause.

How big is sponsorship to this event?

Chris - It’s huge. All of our annual sponsors are part of the event, along with many others for this event alone. They add to the experience for attendees and add to the bottom line. Makes up about 20% of the bottom line. The impact from the event on sponsors is bigger than that, however. It is an important selling point for all of our sponsors. They love the event and look forward to it all year. 

Planning an event can be stressful, what are some ways you help your team stay motivated?

Chris - Thankfully we have an amazing team that is self-motivated, motivated to support each other and are sure not to let each other down. I think the best thing we do for motivation is to support each other and work together to create the event. There’s a lot of stress for sure - I think everyone recognizes that and supports each other more because of that recognition. 

Brian - The best way to keep those motivated is to not let things get you too down and also show that you are willing to pitch in and work just as hard as them. Keep it light and loose and show them the same sort of respect and love that you would like to receive.

What role do you see social media playing with events going forward? 

Chris - Social Media is and will continue to be extremely valuable for promotions for events. It’s crucial for creating organic interest in events which sells tickets or registrations. It’s an effective avenue to create audiences beyond the event attendees for people to experience and engage with the event, and post-event for the memories to live on. For sponsors, social media is a valuable medium to tell the story of their brand and connect with people through their integration with the events they sponsor.

Biggest learning experience in your event life? 

Chris - Probably when I was social chair in my fraternity when I was 19, and I decided we should have a beach party inside our fraternity house. I was inspired by Spring Break I guess. I learned that if you push the envelope a bit you can make something memorable happen and it can be worth it. I also learned that whenever you have an event, there’s a good chance something is going to go wrong. You have to be ready to deal with it and not quit.  (BTW...The hot tub wasn’t quite as good of an idea).

Brian - Biggest learning experience is communication is key. There is no such thing as over communicating!

What athlete would you compare yourself to when it comes to events and why?

Chris - Damn, Big Cat, that’s a helluva question! Since you brought up the Bears I’ll say Jim McMahon. Not the best that ever lived and not perfect, but I hope successful, reliable, inspiring and ultimately, a leader people enjoy working with. 

Brian - I would compare myself to John Stockon. Willing to mix it up, but content to dish off an assist.  

What is the next big event or move for you with your events department?

Chris - Labor Day Weekend Beach Volleyball Tournament - everyone from the SSIA is invited! There’s no better time to be in Chicago! Then on to Bloody Mary Fest, Halloween, Turkey Bowl and three New Year’s Events. Maybe another big one coming up…

Any last words about your event or events, you would like to leave us with?

Chris - I think creating and producing events like we all do is a worthy endeavor. The events create joy, life experiences and memories for the attendees and the event producers alike. It isn’t easy and certainly isn’t glamorous, but when you do it well, it’s a lot of fun and feels really good.

Brian - Last words of advice: don't let the small minority of complaints get you down and shape your opinion of the event or job you are doing. Just bask in the smiles and good times everyone on site is having and that is what it is all about and why we do this. The complaints are hard, but when the compliments come in, it makes things much sweeter.  

Thanks Chris and Brian! We appreciate you sharing such valuable information. To see more about Chicago Sport and Social’s next big event, click HERE. For any further questions or inquiries about events, contact  

Important Reminders & Announcements

Thank you to everyone who made the Q3 National Quarterly Call on Thursday, July 25th!  The link to the recording is available in the Locker Room, and was also shared on the private Facebook group page and Slack on the 26th.  We'd like to give a big shout out to Marvin Guelce of Atlanta Sport & Social Club for providing the knowledge share topic, "Instagram Best Practices"!  

Save the date:

  • The 10th Annual SSIA Conference at the Hard Rock Cancun from February 18th-21st, 2020!  More details will be available soon!
Thank you to our Partners
Thank you to our Platinum Sponsors
Thank you to our Gold Sponsors
Thank you to our Silver Sponsors
Copyright © 2018 Sport & Social Industry Association
All rights reserved

Contact Us:
Galen Beers, Executive Director:
Krissy Greenleaf, Associate Director:

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